Hallway 1972 represents a particular phase in Hurson's career and was acquired from the artist at the time of his Projects focus exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1974. Installed in the corner of the gallery space, the work is visually deceptive at first glance, with the unadorned L-shaped hollow box suggestive of a Minimalist piece. It is placed at eye level, which encourages the spectator to approach and peer in, revealing the miniaturised environment, an uninhabited hallway of an apartment block or three-star highway motel. Hurson has skilfully staged the experience so that the lure of the unknown, of what may lie around the corner, creates a theatrical atmosphere that then encourages the spectator to step back and move around the work for another view.
Hurson's Hallway and Joel Shapiro's Untitled (chair) 1974 can be seen as articulating the broader issues of the period concerning site, scale and context. They were perhaps acquired to present a critical polarity to the near-contemporary monumental sculpture in the National Gallery's collection by the Australian-born American sculptor Clement Meadmore, Virginia 1970, or Mark Di Suvero's Ik ook 1971-72. Michael Hurson's work can also now be seen as providing a valuable historical perspective for the current work of Australian art-world sensation Ricky Swallow (born 1974).
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010