David Hacker (sculptor)
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David Hacker is an American sculptor and painter.
David Gregory Hacker, born in Portland Oregon 1946, came from a difficult family background. His Mother, a business entrepreneur named Margaret Lilias Burnett, and Father, a professional dancer named Hugh David Hacker, were emotionally unavailable alcoholics. The only constructive outlet in his life during that time was athletics. In 1966 Hacker was drafted, like many young men during that time period, and made the choice to become a U.S. Marine. He served on the front lines of the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968.
Hacker attended Grace Harbor College, Santa Monica City College, Cal State Northridge, and Portland State University, all before earning his BA and MFA in Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1984, Hacker was chosen to attend Skowhegan, the prestigious School of Painting and Sculpture. After receiving his BA, MFA and attending Skowhegan, he continued his education at Teachers College/Columbia University and Marylhurst University.
Hacker’s self-described rootlessness and melancholia and his search for knowledge have kept him constantly moving between Portland and New York, which he has done twenty-four times. This sets up an interesting opposition force in Hacker’s life—he works with steel, one of the most immoveable and permanent of all media, yet he finds himself to be very portable as he uproots from one coast to the other. In 1986, Hacker curated a benefit for El Bohio Community and Cultural Center in New York called Inside/Outside. Artists he selected for the exhibit included Bryan Hunt, Arden Scott, Tom Bills and John Chamberlain. The benefit "kicked off with an opening of historic proportions: 3,500 people showed up for a barbecue dinner on June 1. They ate birds cooked on grills hidden within a sculpture, St. Peter's Barbecue, by Mr. Hacker, a 25-foot-high baroque concoction of welded scrap iron," wrote the New York Times on June 13, 1986. The exhibit also caught the eye of New York Magazine's arts writer Edith Newhall in its June 2 edition. A [Pollock-Krasner Foundation] Grant recipient, Hacker was commissioned to weld a steel gate for Alan Moss Studios of New York, situated on Lafayette Street opposite the Joseph Papp Theatre. His sculpture and painting were also selected for the set in the 1988 release of The Good Mother, directed by Leonard Nimoy and starring Diane Keaton, Liam Neeson and Jason Robards. Hacker’s sculpture and paintings were discussed in End Papers, Drawings 1890-1900 and 1990-2000, where he was selected to appear among artists whose work helped define life at either end of the twentieth century. His work is highlighted among luminaries Paul Cézanne, Emile Nolde, Edvard Munch and Auguste Rodin as well as Richard Serra, Jim Dine, David Smith and Jasper Johns. The reviewer writes, "Intensely emotional is the work of David Hacker. Conveying velocity, strength and physicality, the artist relies upon a totally abstract format to achieve expressive feeling…Almost bursting with energy, a work like Du Dancer conveys a sense of forcefulness that is barely contained by the welded steel frames Hacker fashions around his drawings. Raw vitality literally explodes across the surface…” For Welded! Sculpture of the 20th Century at the Neuberger Museum of Art in 2000, his works were featured among the welding elite, including such notables as David Smith, Mark Di Suvero, Anthony Caro and Judy Pfaff. Hacker’s work was highlighted in Architectural Digest in 2000 and Vogue Magazine in 2002. As well as private collections, Hacker’s sculpture and paintings have been shown at the Neuberger Art Museum and the Anne Plumb Gallery. His influences are Willem de Kooning, Lucian Freud, John Chamberlain and Richard Stankiewics and he lists Auguste Rodin, Paul Thek and Frank Auerbach among his current favorites. In 2007, Hacker's work was displayed with other prominent Portland artists in Construct/Re-Construct, a show that "de-constructs (if you will) the physicality of the creative building process, and explores the dialog between an artist and his or her materials. The list of participating artists promises a complex and interesting series of installations," according to Portland's PORT website. In February 2009, New York Post writer Richard Johnson reported on Page Six that actor Robert Downey, Jr. was dining at The Cub Room in SoHo when he spotted Hacker's welded sculpture Twisted Heart. When Downey, Jr. was told the artist's inspiration was a line from a T.S. Eliot poem, Downey said, "Well, that gives new meaning to the word 'twisted.' "  As impermanent and unsettled as his homes are between Portland and New York, Hacker’s reading collection serves as a ready constant companion. Lines from Emily Dickinson, Charles Dickens and John Milton work their way into conversations with him, and he often carries a well-worn copy of philosopher Hannah Arendt.
An untitled poem Hacker wrote in 2009 (Reprinted with permission of the artist):
Never leave until you leave
I keep laughing because I
Haven’t shot myself
Redemption is a private show
- Stealing Home, Murdoch Collections, Portland, OR Sculpture, painting and drawing exhibit
- Construct/Re-Construct, Cathedral Park Place, Portland OR Construct/Re-Construct review
- The Ogle Gallery, Portland, OR
- Katayama Collection, Portland, OR
- Katayama Collection, Portland, OR
- Hacker at The Auk Gallery Hamden, NY
- Welded! Sculpture of the 20th Century, Neuberger Art Museum, Purchase, NY
- End Papers, Neuberger Art Museum, Purchase, NY
- Anne Plumb Gallery, New York
- Silver Mines Art Center, New Canaan, Connecticut
- David Hacker/Mary Waranov, Bond Gallery, NY
- Anne Plumb Gallery, New York
- Indoor/Outdoor, Curated by David Hacker, El Bohio Community and Cultural Center, New York
- Skowhegan: Ten Year Retrospective, 1975–1986, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
- Template:IMDb name
- New York Magazine (2 June, 1986)
- Bryan Hunt's artist bibliography
- Hacker at the Auk
- Skowhagen Alumni
- Mallory Curley, A Cookie Mueller Encyclopedia (2010), p. 204
- New York Times El Bohio Benefit
- New York Magazine
- Good Mother Art Dept.
- End Papers review, NY Times
- NY Times Review
- NY Post Iron Man Likes the Iron Heart
- Hacker Artwork
McGill, Douglas C. (June 13, 1986). "Art People". New York Times Arts Section.