Al Hansen, American, 1927 - 1995
Apotheosis of Hershey Wrapper - Three Thugs Attacked Him in the Men’s Room of ‘Il Mio’, 1964
Collage on wood
12 × 10 1/8 in. (30.5 × 25.7 cm)
Work on paper (Drawing)
X 519

© Al Hansen
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Al Hansen’s use of everyday events and ephemera as inspiration in his art made him highly influential in the expansion of art materials and methods during the 1960s. Specifically, in “Happenings”—short, nonlinear performances that occurred during this time—he is best known for pieces involving pushing pianos out of windows or simply painting a ladder to music. He also made collages, which were often titled with the same nonsensical approach as his performances. This work, Apotheosis of Hershey Wrapper—Three Thugs Attacked Him in the Men’s Room of ‘Il Mio,’ features his hallmark use of commonplace items, Hershey candy bar wrappers, to create a composition of bold repetition and wordplay. Hansen termed such collages as “fields of letters.” Here, the artist turned detritus into a witty consideration of corporate emblems that emphasizes the visual and textual allure they hold for consumers.