Forms Larger and Bolder: Eva Hesse Drawings
German-born American artist Eva Hesse (1936–1970) produced a prodigious body of work that collapsed disciplinary boundaries and forged innovative approaches to materials, forms, and processes. This exhibition illustrates the important role that drawing played throughout Hesse’s career. Organized by Andrea Gyorody, Ellen Johnson ’33 Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Barry Rosen of the Eva Hesse estate, the two-part exhibition culminates at the Allen after traveling to Museum Wiesbaden, Hauser & Wirth New York, and mumok in Vienna. The exhibition at the AMAM is the most comprehensive of the tour, comprising more than 70 works on paper, materials from the Eva Hesse Archive (also housed at the AMAM), and the pioneering sculpture Laocoön (1966), which was the first museum acquisition of a sculpture by Hesse when the AMAM purchased it in 1970.
Forms Larger and Bolder features a selection of Hesse’s earliest drawings, which chart the origins of her enduring engagement with the medium as a primary site for her experimentation with new ideas and processes. The exhibition also includes drawings from her first mature bodies of work, in the early 1960s; drawings she made in Germany in 1964–5, which include collages in an abstract expressionist mode—“wild space,” as she called them in a letter to her friend Sol LeWitt; so-called “machine drawings” from the same period; and a selection of working sketches and diagrams from 1967 to 1970, which shed light on some of Hesse’s most significant sculptures.
The exhibition is accompanied by Eva Hesse: Oberlin Drawings, a 428-page publication by Hauser & Wirth Publishers that illustrates the AMAM’s extensive collection of Hesse works on paper. Edited by Barry Rosen, the publication features essays by Briony Fer, Gioia Timpanelli, Manuela Ammer, Jörg Daur, and Andrea Gyorody.
Image: Eva Hesse (American, born in Germany, 1936–1970)
No title (1964)
Collage, gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
Gift of Helen Hesse Charash, 1983.109.20