The last time I tried to ride into Sotheby’s on a lawnmower security got quite cross, but for Duane Hanson they can’t do enough to help – that’s what being one of the 20th Century’s most influential artists gets you I suppose. Of course it’s not Hanson himself that’s being wheeled into the London auction house (the sculptor from South Florida died in 1996, so that would be a bit weird), but one of his final big pieces. Man on a Mower is an excellent example of Hanson’s extraordinary photorealistic skill, you’d need to hold a mirror under the nostrils of this sweat-stained sad sack to be sure he isn’t breathing.
The obese gardener is typical of the sort of characters that interested Hanson – the disillusioned, downtrodden and deluded of Middle America were popular subjects, elevating them from the mundanity of their clichéd lives into something to be celebrated. Reality Check is a rare chance to see some of Hanson’s seminal works in person; the selling exhibition continues at Sotheby’s until 7 November.