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David Hacker is an American sculptor and painter.

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Sculpture Door by David Hacker at Murdoch Collections, Portland, OR, 2009. Image courtesy of Phil Bard, 2010.


Early life

Born David Glover in Portland, Oregon in 1946, Hacker served as a U.S. Marine on the front lines of Vietnam until 1968. His art studies were interrupted and resumed when he returned to the US. Like many Vietnam veterans, Hacker brought home with him emotional and physical scarring, and this pain is often communicated in his works today.

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The Prophet, Charcoal and Oil, 2009 by David Hacker


Hacker received his BA in Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 1979, and received his MFA at UCSB in 1984. He was chosen to attend the infamous artists' retreat Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1984. He later attended art therapy courses at Marylhurst University and studied art education at the Teachers College of Columbia University.


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.' " [1]

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 finds himself 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.[2] The exhibit also caught the eye of New York Magazine's arts writer Edith Newhall in its June 2 edition.[3]

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.[4]

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 Cezanne, 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…”[5]

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.[6]

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.[7]

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






  • Welded! Scuplture 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

External links


  1. ^ NY Post Iron Man Likes the Iron Heart
  2. ^ New York Times El Bohio Benefit
  3. ^ New York Magazine
  4. ^ Good Mother Art Dept.
  5. ^ End Papers review, NY Times
  6. ^ NY Times Review
  7. ^ PORT
  8. ^ Hacker Artwork

McGill, Douglas C. (June 13, 1986). "Art People". New York Times Arts Section.

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