Duncan Hannah

Duncan Rathbun Hannah (August 21, 1952 – June 11, 2022) was an American visual artist and author. Born in Minneapolis, he attended The Blake School[1] as a boy, and later Bard College, before transferring to the Parsons School of Design, where he graduated in 1975.[2]

Hannah was the author of his memoir 20th Century Boy (2018), sourced from his 1970s diaries, which recounted his life in the downtown art scene of New York City.[3][4][5] The New York Times described him as a "scene-maker," logging time at CBGB and other hot clubs and hanging with the Warhol crowd."[2] ARTnews called Hannah a "key participant in the birth of the New York punk scene."[1] He led the fan club devoted to the early punk band Television, and the book relates his encounters and friendships with an array of figures, including David Bowie, Lou Reed, Allen Ginsberg,[6] Patti Smith, Nico, and Salvador Dalí.[7] 20th Century Boy was excerpted in The Paris Review.[8]

The critic and editor Glenn O’Brien noted in Artforum magazine that Hannah’s art “causes problems for critics because they can’t figure out if he’s retro- or post-something.”[9] The design writer Steven Heller described Hannah's paintings as "post-illustrative, Magritte- and Hopper-esque."[10] Hannah was also referred to as a "romantic realist" who depicted imaginary scenes of retro-nostalgia, such as starlets from old movie posters.[11] In 1980 Hannah's works were included in the influential The Times Square Show along with such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.[12] His paintings have been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Phyllis Kind Gallery and the Center Gallery in Chicago;[13] the Daedalus Gallery and the John Oulman Gallery in Minneapolis;[14][15] the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London;[16] the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts;[17] and the Semaphore Gallery and Charles Cowles Gallery in New York City;[18][19][20] among other venues.[21][22] Hannah's work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[23][24] “I’ve basically ignored the avant-garde,” Hannah told an interviewer in 2018. “I was surprised by the conformity of the art world."[7]

Hannah also took a turn at acting, appearing in a duo of films by Amos Poe, including starring opposite Deborah Harry (later of Blondie) in Unmade Beds (1976), in which he played a photographer who sees himself as a 1960s Paris gangster,[25] and The Foreigner.[2][26] Hannah also co-starred in Jennifer Montgomery's 1995 film Art for Teachers of Children.[27]

In his later years, Hannah lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York; and West Cornwall, Connecticut.[28] He died after suffering a heart attack at his home in West Cornwall on June 11, 2022, aged 69.[29][30] At the time of his death, he was married to Megan Wilson.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Remembering Artist Duncan Hannah, Whose Life Was Run on Generosity". June 22, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Genzlinger, Neil (June 15, 2022). "Duncan Hannah, Artist and '70s Chronicler, Dies at 69". The New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  3. ^ "Duncan Hannah (1952–2022)". Artforum. June 13, 2022. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  4. ^ Miller, M.H. (March 13, 2018). "Duncan Hannah's Seventies New York". Paris Review. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  5. ^ Hampton, Howard (March 2018). "Hardy Boy". Bookforum. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  6. ^ "Duncan Hannah, Remembered".
  7. ^ a b "Duncan Hannah's Seventies New York". March 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Hannah, Duncan (2017). "Diaries, 1970–73". Vol. Fall 2017, no. 222. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  9. ^ "Glenn O'Brien on Duncan Hannah".
  10. ^ "The Daily Heller: Duncan Hannah and a Missed Opportunity". June 21, 2022.
  11. ^ Howell, Camille (December 18, 1983). "Duncan Hannah's works are pretty to look at but they have little to say". Minneapolis Star. p. 14G. Retrieved June 18, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Painter Duncan Hannah passes away at 70". artdaily.com. June 16, 2022. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  13. ^ Artner, Alan G. (November 11, 1983). "Exhibits picture Paris in all its arty, offbeat splendor". Chicago Tribune. p. 5:9. Retrieved June 20, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ Addington, Fran (December 19, 1982). "Artist enlivens space with romantic touch". Minneapolis Star. p. 13G. Retrieved June 18, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Kastner, Jeffrey (September 7, 1990). "A storyteller, Duncan Hannah paints taut tales of discovery". Minneapolis Star Tribune. p. 6E. Retrieved June 18, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "The Lady Vanishes". The Independent (London). May 6, 2007. pp. ABC6-7. Retrieved June 18, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ McQuaid, Cate (December 3, 2008). "Woodworks hammer home a spare poetry". Boston Globe. p. 4G. Retrieved June 18, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ Flanagan, Barbara (January 14, 1987). "Sharing a few thrills with some fellow Minnesotans". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. p. 1B. Retrieved June 20, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "Art Galleries: Manhattan". New York Newsday. March 16, 1984. p. II,21. Retrieved June 20, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ Kimmelman, Michael (September 15, 1989). "Searching for Some Order In a Show Based on Chaos". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  21. ^ Eckardt, Stephanie (May 14, 2016). "Girls of the Moment, After the Moment Passed". W Magazine. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  22. ^ "Duncan Hannah - Artists - Jeff Bailey Gallery".
  23. ^ Leland, John (May 6, 2016). "From CBGB to the Galleries of the Met". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  24. ^ https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/483031[bare URL]
  25. ^ Harrington, Michael (September 14, 2003). "7 Days". Philadelphia Inquirer. p. H9. Retrieved June 22, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ Buckley, Tom (April 27, 1978). "Film: 'The Foreigner': Sight and Sound". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  27. ^ Kehr, Dave (August 2, 1995). "A Tale of Teacher's Petting". Daily News (New York). p. 28. Retrieved June 20, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ Penny, Daniel (June 14, 2022). "An Afternoon with Duncan Hannah (In Memoriam)". Drake's. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  29. ^ Aton, Francesca (June 13, 2022). "Duncan Hannah, Painter of Nostalgic Landscapes and Portraits, Dies". Art News. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  30. ^ Sokol, Brett (April 21, 2016). "Duncan Hannah: A Painter Unmoored from Time and Trends". The New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2022.

External linksEdit