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Sculptor Ron Mueck

This forty-four-year-old Australian worked in children's television, movie special effects, and advertising for 20 years before he made his first art-world work of art, in 1997. That piece, Dead Dad, was an eerily realistic four-foot-long sculpture of a naked old man. It debuted in Charles Saatchi's 1997 landmark exhibition Sensation and stole the show, Damien Hirst et al. notwithstanding.

The power of Mueck's fiberglass resin sculptures lies not only in their verisimilitude but also in the fact that they're never made to scale: Crouching Boy, shown at the 2001 Venice Biennale, is a taut, introspective portrait of a kid who's taller than a double-decker bus. New works, made during a two-year residency at London's National Gallery, go on view there March 19.

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