Stephen Hansen

Artist Statement

As an artist I am not an explorer of the human condition, so much as a hapless tourist, making snapshots of whatever strikes my fancy. I work primarily in paper mache, the appeal of which is twofold. First, it is fast enough that I can try out ideas without any sense of commitment. Secondly, it is a material so inherently humble that I can claim to make “cultural icons” or “distilled social observations” without feeling too pretentious. Stylistically, I think of my work as lifelike rather than realistic, a choice made out of a desire to represent ideas rather than individuals. I make sculpture with the idea that it should both attract and communicate. Towards that end, I try to make art that is intellectually accessible and aesthetically seductive. I approach my work day as though I were the director of a small reparatory company, with a group of actors that I costume and coerce into the characters of the story I want to tell. They tend toward
over acting.

Artist Statement ll

You should never trust an artist who makes a statement, except under duress

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Margery Goldberg and Stephen Hansen at the 1990 Smithsonian National Museum of American History opening of “Information Age” paper mache comic figures. In 1990 the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History commissioned artist Stephen Hansen to design the entrance to its path breaking “Information Age” exhibition. Hansen’s take on how “new technologies” were overtaking our lives, resulted in a rotating tableau of nearly life-sized sculptures caught in moments of whimsy, anger, and existential befuddlement.