Eva Hesse (1936-1970), was a German-born American sculptor, known for her pioneering work in materials such as latex, fiberglass, and plastics. After graduat...
Eva Hesse (1936-1970), was a German-born American sculptor, known for her pioneering work in materials such as latex, fiberglass, and plastics.
After graduating from New York's School of Industrial Art in 1952, Hesse studied at New York's Pratt Institute (1952--1953) and Cooper Union (1954--1957), then at the Yale School of Art and Architecture (1957--1959), where she studied under Josef Albers and received a B.F.A. Upon returning to New York she made friends with many young artists. In 1961, she met and married sculptor Tom Doyle. In August 1962 Eva Hesse and Tom Doyle participated in an Allan Kaprow Happening at the Art Students League of New York in Woodstock, New York. There Hesse made her first three dimensional piece: a costume for the Happening. In 1963 Eva Hesse had a one-person show of works on paper at the Allan Stone Gallery on New York's Upper East Side.
The couple lived and worked in an abandoned textile mill in the Ruhr region of Germany for about a year during 1964-1965. Hesse was not happy to be back in Germany, but began sculpting with materials that had been left behind in the abandoned factory: first relief sculptures made of cloth-covered cord, electrical wire, and masonite, with playful titles like Eighter from Decatur and Oomamaboomba. Returning to New York City in 1965 she began working in the materials that would become characteristic of her work: latex, fiberglass, and plastics. Eva Hesse had also an interest in drawing as evinced by her numerous workbooks.
She was associated with the mid-1960s postminimal anti-form trend in sculpture, participating in New York exhibits such as "Eccentric Abstraction" and "Abstract Inflationism and Stuffed Expressionism" (both 1966). In September 1968 Eva Hesse began teaching at the School of Visual Arts. Her only one-person show of sculpture in her lifetime was "Chain Polymers" at the Fischbach Gallery on W. 57th Street in New York in November 1968; her large piece Expanded Expansion showed at the Whitney Museum in the 1969 exhibit "Anti-Illusion: Process/Materials". There have been dozens of major posthumous exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including at The Guggenheim Museum (1972), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2002), The Drawing Center in New York (2006) and the Jewish Museum of New York (2006).