Eva Hesse (2016) Movie Script

EVA HESSE". There's not been
one normal thing in my life.
Not one.
Art is the easiest thing.
It doesn't mean
I've worked little on it,
but H's the only thing I never had to.
Eva Hesse was one of the
greatest artists of the 20th century.
Her idea was to make an art
that was on the borderline
of uncontrollability.
This was someone Who'd not
simply made small scale work,
but someone who's capable of
making really major statements.
HESSE". I have the most
openness about my art.
I'm willing, really,
to walk on the edge.
And if! haven't achieved it,
that's where f want to go.
Her sensibility was exquisite.
And you could feel the tension in her voice
when she spoke about her work.
HESSE: I get so close,
then change,
I get distrustful of myself...
Painting went lousy today...
To be able to finish one
and stand ground.
This is me.
This is what I want to say.
Eva's life and her art definitely merged.
She wasn't just manipulating materials,
she was the materials.
It all fell together at one point for her.
And she ran with it.
HESSE: One day,
it will all fit together,
and I feel capable
of being there and ready.
It will all have been Worthwhile
for What I've gained from it.
HESSE". I'm not a writer.
Nor, may you say
should be that pretentious
to write down my thoughts.
An Autobiographical Sketch of a Nobody.
This is the story of one whom,
from the outside,
reveals a rather pretty picture.
Pretty face,
pretty body
pretty dress.
However, the person
does not feel pretty inside.
I have felt, for the
majority of my life,
different, alone,
and apart from others.
To complicate the matter some,
for the last years I have shown and
developed talents as a painter,
a good one, at that.
Was H in my feeling
estranged and different
that I could claim
the title of painter'?
What I've accepted as the answer is
that the true artist
is paradoxically also
the true personal misfit.
Eva was definitely my father's favorite.
Not because...
Only because he, I think,
felt that she was more vulnerable.
I was the older one
and I understood more.
But I think that he was so off base.
Eva was the strong one.
There were times she felt helpless.
But she had gutsiness
right from the get-go.
HESSE: When I was 16,
I Went to Pratt Institute.
And I didn't like it very much at all.
When you started painting class,
you had to do a lemon still life.
And then, you graduated to
a lemon and bread still life.
And then, you graduated to a lemon,
bread, and egg still life.
This was not my idea of painting.
I waited until I was getting As
instead of Cs,
and declared I was quitting.
I had to know that it Wasn't
because I Wasn't doing Well.
So, I had to go home.
As soon as I got there,
my stepmother said, Get a job.
So where do you go at 16-and-a-half,
knowing very little
and having an interest in art'?
I took myself to Seventeen Magazine.
And for some strange reason,
they hired me.
I think H was just because
of the gall of coming up there.
She had the experience of
working at a woman's magazine
and she said it made
a huge difference for her,
that it gave her confidence.
And she got some of her work
out into the world.
HESSE". I took the middle of the year
test for Cooper Union,
and that was the only plan I made.
I had to make H.
{got m.
And the following September,
I Went to Cooper Union,
which I loved from the very start.
Eva was certainly aware
that she wanted to be an artist.
But my father could not accept that.
WILLIAM HESSE: Dear Evachen,
you were always very successful
in all that you did.
But painting and studying
are pleasant jobs.
In order to stand on your feet,
you have to do things which you feel
today are not so pleasant.
And if a person has a job
or earns a living,
this is something which
also gives satisfaction.
HESSE". Daddy, I want to do
more than just exist,
to live happily and contented
with a home, children,
to do the same chores every day.
Lam an artist.
I Want to experience
all What life has to offer.
And I have to do this for myself.
{met Eva when she was 17.
What fascinated me most about her
was her hands.
She spoke with her hands.
All the vitality in her
came through her hands.
We spent an enormous
amount of time together.
And that became
a very close friendship.
HESSE". Dearest Rosie,
I dreamt that you and I
collaborated on a book
Where We talked over our entire past,
very honest, nothing hidden.
The whole bit.
GOLDMAN". She was living on Jane Street.
She had a little room
with a gigantic bed.
She was very comfortable in this
box, almost, of a room.
As long as she could
do her art, it didn't matter.
SYLVIA: We both
Went to Cooper Union and Yale.
I was two years younger than her
so I watched her.
I had this sense that
she was somebody to watch.
She was a very smart,
articulate and beautiful person
who needed someone to listen to her
so she could gel ll all out and work.
She went to Yale and studied painting,
famously with, most famously
with Josef Albers.
HESSE: I was Albers'
little color study/st.
Everybody always called me that.
And every time he walked
into the classroom,
he would ask, What did Eva do?
The last two years have probably been
the two most eventful,
with the greatest of change
deep inside myself.
We become a painter.
SUSSMAN: She finished art school
at the end of the 'SOs
and she went from Yale
into New York in 1960.
Kennedy had been elected.
This was really the dawn of a new age.
HESSE: I've moved so rapidly.
I feel so alive.
I'm almost too anxious for every moment
and every future moment.
Being an artist in New York City
in the '60s was totally wonderful.
It was a great time.
In almost all facets of work
and music, literature, poetry,
but particularly in painting,
everything was opening up.
There was a feeling like
we were reinventing painting.
HESSE". I will abandon restrictions
and curbs imposed on myself.
I will strip me of
superficial dishonesiies.
I will paint against every rule.
And you have to understand
that that time,
there wasn't any art world.
There were people making work
for themselves and for each other.
And there wasn't any product.
Commodification hadn't happened.
The art world hadn't been
taken over by collectors.
No one was thinking about how much
money they were going to make.
It was all dedicating
your life to your work.
And I know that Eva felt that way, too.
HESSE". Only painting can
now see me through.
It is totally interdependent
with my entire being.
H is what I have found through
which I can express myself.
She came to New York and I met her.
She'd just gotten out of Yale.
Eva was very pretty and cute,
very alive and hip, and knew a lot
of people because of being at Yale.
I recognized that she had
something extraordinary about her work.
HESSE". I'm beginning to sell
and show my work,
in that order.
One gave me the confidence
to proceed to the other.
International Watercolor Show
at the Brooklyn Museum
and 3 young Americans,
my show last evening.
It is the beginning of being fully
in the midst of the art world.
I've been with Tom Doyle
the last three days.
I'm really so happy.
There was a party held at
this friend of mine's place.
And I was in a fight.
This guy was making out
with my girlfriend,
so I hit him.
Eva was at the party
and she took me in the kitchen
and washed my face,
and she was very nice to me, you know.
And that was the first time I met her.
HESSE". Tom is a beautiful human being
and I enjoy all aspects of him.
H is a real, live
and beautiful romance.
Tom was a wonderful, lively, poetic,
funny Irish drunk at that point.
GOLDMAN: She was warned against him,
that he comes from a very wild crowd,
really Wasn't good for her.
But he gave her something
that she very much needed.
HESSE: I feel he's really with me
and I am with him.
I have never felt this before.
That summer, Eva and Tom
invited me to go to
George Segal's farm.
DOYLE". All these
young artists are coming up
from New York to do this carnival.
And there was gonna be
a sculpture dance.
I made a sculpture
that was like a fighter plane.
And Eva, H was her
first sculpture, really,
was a very, kind of, formless thing.
Two people got in and danced.
And all these sculptures were dancing.
GOLDMAN: They also had a happening.
H was living theater
without any script.
HONIG: There was a dancer, Yvonne Rainer,
who was dancing on the roof of a barn.
SERRA: Artists were interfacing with
a lot of dancers at the time.
We thought that there were
more ideas generated in dance
than being generated
by sculptors or painters.
HONIG: Eva had constructed a tube
made of fabric that people
were to wiggle through.
H was fun.
It was artists playing
and having a good time.
HESSE'. All is well.
H's been a beautiful week.
I love Tom more every day.
DOYLE: Her father said, "/ don't Want
you marrying anyone except a Jew."
So I converted.
I became a Jew. I mean, I went to shul,
I did the whole number.
OHARASH: You know,
they were not interested in any religion.
But for my father,
and because of our German background,
she went along with H
and Tom went along with H.
DOYLE". Two or three friends of mine
all had never been Bar Mitzvah-ed,
so we had a Bar Mitzvah. We played
Belle Barth records, you know. (LAUGHS)
And gave each other fountain pens,
the whole stick.
Tom was a good and interesting sculptor,
just coming into his mature work
and Eva was clearly a good artist.
But there wasn't anything
unique there, yet.
But she was very ambitious
and full of youthful art energy.
DOYLE". We got a loft
on 19th and 5th Avenue.
H was a great loft.
H was a half a block long.
We rented part of H
out to Eihelyn Honig.
HONIG: One of the mornings
that I arrived,
I told them about the fact
that I had just seen
a major exhibition at
the Sidney Janis Gallery.
It was called Pop Art.
And I said, "I think
you ought to get over there
"and take a look
and see what's going on.
"It's never gonna be the same."
LIPPARD: Pop art, of course,
burst onto the scene
and that was a big deal.
Pop art was a sort of game changer.
SUSSMAN: The discussions
that came up afterwards
of people for and against
H were passionate.
And, of course, Eva
always went to museums
and knew exactly what was going on.
And I have a feeling
that she might have been
more for it than Tom.
WAPNER: She didn't have
accepted truths.
And she examined and doubted
and, um,
thought about things.
HESSE". Should I impose my
preconceived ideas on painting'?
And to what degree must I go along with
what happens on canvas in the moment'?
BARBARA BROWN". When she was
painting, she was very blocked.
But her early collages
were extraordinary. I mean,
she could draw like nobody.
Anytime she drew anything,
ll was really beautiful.
HESSE". For me,
painting has become that, making art,
painting a painting.
The history, the tradition
is too much there.
I Want to be surprised.
I will continue drawing,
push the individuality of them,
even though they go against
every major trend.
Fuck that.
So did everyone I admire.
DOYLE". Eva was working at a jewelry
store on Bleecker Street
and I got a job teaching
at the New School.
And that's one of the two jobs I had,
and that's how we were
sort of living on that.
And then what happened
was Arnold Rudlinger,
the director the Kunstverein,
and a bunch of German collectors
saw my stone sculptures.
Rudlinger was going to
give me a show in Basel.
He said, "How do you
move these things?"
I said, "Well, you have to
build a box and lala..."
And Scheidt said, Look, we have
stone very much like that.
"Why don't you come to
Germany and, you know,
"you can make the sculpture in Germany and
we'll send it to Switzerland, you know?"
And I said, "Yeah, I would do that."
Eva was sort of scared
about going there, you know,
because of what happened...
had happened to her family.
HESSE: I sit here now
panicked and crying.
The pressure of leaving
Hes heavy on me.
I said, "Look, it's a good time
to be out of New York."
Pop art is a big thing, now.
We'll lei that die down.
And Scheidt was going to give me
a salary and everything, you know.
We won't have to work.
You know, we'll just work on our work.
HONIG: I remember her saying
that she was frightened
of going back to this place
where she had suffered so much.
CHARASH". But Sol Lewitt,
a close friend, a close confidante,
encouraged her, saying that
she would be well served
to get out of the New York art scene.
She would be able to work
in a much freer manner.
HESSE". Dear Mr. Scheidt,
I have begun to make
preparations for our trip,
so the whole thing is
becoming very real for us.
It was Tom's opportunity.
It was Tom who had been
asked to go to Germany.
H was very hard for her.
But Eva wouldn't let
an opportunity go by.
Eva was a risk taker.
Though Eva was a little bit
more of a wife at that point,
but all that would change.
SUSSMAN: Tom and Eva were
set up in Kettwig,
this town that had
these textile factories
that had been in the family of
Arnard Scheidt for hundreds of years.
Where Eva and Tom lived
were over there,
that was the so-called...
But the part where they were working
that was already...
JOHANN". Thai was closed down already.
HESSE". Our studio,
top floor with skylight
and windows every two feet.
I sit and hope I will Work some.
I might just have to believe in me more
before working will
mean something to me.
GABRIELE: The first time
that I saw Eva,
she gave me a very warm feeling,
a feeling of being welcomed.
I was five-years-old,
and she invited me
to come to the atelier.
She wanted to show me how to paint.
And of course, We played
lots in the pool.
You had these water balls playing,
and We Were... (CHUCKLES)
jumping into the pool.
H was great.
She painted for my other brother, Karl,
a picture cal/ed Waterball Play.
I guess she loved it, too,
being with us and just playing.
So I have very sunny impressions,
but I also have, um,
some memories later in the year.
There was something in her
which was, um...
traurig, sad.
I think H was difficult for her,
being in this country.
HESSE'. June 13th, 1964.
Our sixth day herein Kettwig.
Yesterday I had some melancholy.
I developed some of my more
troubled thoughts and feelings.
I was born in Germany, in 1936.
My family is from Hamburg,
Germany, northern Germany.
That's Where I was born
and that's Where Eva was born.
HESSE". My father was
a criminal lawyer.
He had just finished his two doctorates
and I had the most
beautiful mother in the world.
She looked like Ingrid Bergman.
She studied art in Hamburg.
OHARASH: My father kept tagebucher
about my life and Eva's life.
It's really a journal.
May this book of your childhood
become a guide in your later life.
In H, you will realize how you grew up.
None of this may get lost,
my beloved child,
because there is nothing
that sustains us more
in the hardships of our lives
than a review of our childhood.
When Helen was born, freedom and truth
had vanished already from Germany.
Ft was already five months
that Hitter raged.
German Jewish life changed very quickly.
When the Nazis came
to power in January, 1933,
there were so many deprivation.
People were hurt.
They couldn't Work in their
professions anymore.
H was forbidden to work
as a so-called Jewish lawyer.
WILLIAM: I lost my profession
on April 24th, 1933.
And then there were more hard years.
After November 10,
when all the synagogues
had been destroyed,
all Jewish businesses wrecked,
almost all the men had been arrested,
and the most horrible
atrocities of all kinds
been committed against the
Jews all over Germany.
One tried from abroad, at least, to
save the children as speedily as possible.
On December 7th,
Helen and Eva left for Holland
with the children's transport.
Will there be a reunion?
Will We get murdered first?
We were not allowed on the platform.
Helen and Eva held hands
and marched off to the train,
accompanied by criminals certified
as customs officials and Gestapo.
OHARASH: Eva was under three,
and I was five-and-a-half.
HESSE". We went to Holland.
We were supposed to be picked up by
my father's brother and his Wife,
but they Weren't allowed to do it.
We were put in
a Catholic children's home.
CHARASH: I remember that Eva
had been toilet trained at home,
but she must have regressed with all
that happened and they spanked her.
She took sick around her birthday time,
and she was quarantined,
so they didn't let me see her.
WILLIAM: In the beginning of February,
Ruth and I were rescued, as well.
We came to Holland
and picked up the children.
HESSE: My father's brother and his wife
ended up in concentration camps.
And all of my grandparents
and everybody.
No one made it.
But we did.
We Went to America
via one of my father's cousins.
It was the end of summer, 1939.
H was very, very late.
H was the last chance.
July 2181,1964.
Dear Rosie, I had a slow week.
Did not push at all.
Took H easy.
I don't know What it means
to really delve into the past,
family and such.
I must be too afraid.
The first two weeks here,
I had terrible, gruesome nightmares.
Frighiful dream.
Large party-
Hundreds of people.
Tom very drunk.
I heard someone tell him,
"Take your lovely wife home."
He carried me outside,
ran with me, fast.
Hurt me.
We went higher and higher
through the sky.
There was a French Legion
parade beneath us.
Officers came out,
and with long, saber swords
cut the heads off all the legionnaires.
I had to control Tom. (ROARS)
Officers then grabbed us
and threw us into solitary.
We had swords held inches away,
I, by my screaming head.
I could no longer control myself,
but was warned to behave.
They said that if I were not a child,
they already Would've killed me.
Initially, I felt different.
But once again, I'm left with myself.
Started Work in oil paint today.
Did two tiny,
very expressionism: paintings.
Feel rather enthused, since I enjoyed
them and they seemed real for me.
Somehow, I think that counts.
I'm still networking right,
as I know in my mind one should.
Tom also can find working difficult.
Less so, as he knows what he's about,
what he wants to achieve.
When she would talk about her work,
she would talk about it in
quite self-deprecating terms.
She would say, "You know,
I'm patshke-ing around with new things."
And I thought to myself,
that's a funny thing to say.
You would never say
Tom's patshke-ing around.
She Wasn't sure, yet.
Tom was sure.
WERNER NEKES: I met Eva and Tom Doyle
during the Short Film Days, a film festival
of short films in Oberhausen,
and I remember that Eva liked specially
a Japanese film by Yoji Kuri, Aos.
Eva took those boxes as a scene
in some of her paintings later on.
Eva was ready all the time
to take all the inferences that she saw
and to work on them
to find her own way.
In the 15 months Eva Hesse
was in Germany,
there happened a lot.
Together with Tom Doyle,
she went into every important
museum in whole Europe.
They were in London, in Paris, in Rome.
HESSE: Brussels. Went to museum.
Bruegel and Bosch, Alechinsky, Maisys,
Calder, Moore, Chillida, Davie, Noguchi.
PETZINGER: She was a person...
whose eyes were open, open, open.
And she needed food for her eyes.
LEWITT: Tom and Eva Doyle, Kettwig.
Hope you had a good trip.
Now back to work.
All sculptures are objects
of one kind or another.
Don't fight it. Go, go.
DOYLE: We worked on each other's stuff.
I mean, she helped me
when I painted my sculpture.
And I helped her, you know, as much as... I
built frames, I built everything, you know.
Our private life was not so great,
but our working life was very good.
Except I drank a little too much, then,
you know. I was drinking a lot.
That wasn't too good.
HESSE". Saturday, October 3rd.
Tom knocked someone unconscious.
Tom Worse than ever before,
and I cried and was miserable all night.
Dearest Rosie,
my anger at Tom increases.
H verges on a breaking point.
At parties, he is obnoxious.
He goes from woman to next woman,
dips them to ground.
They love H.
I'm not proud of it, but I...
That's the way I was, you know'?
And that's the way everybody was,
you know'? It's like...
It's like...
That's why you were an artist,
you know, so you... (CHUCKLES)
HESSE". Recently H has got out of hand.
You'll be concerned by this.
He kisses them.
H sounds so strange to write this.
But Rosie, my pride hurts
to be there watching.
H hurts.
She sort of withdrew,
you know, and, uh...
she never really come out
against it but you know,
she was very hurt by it, I think.
CHARASH: Eva writes...
she always says it's her art
that pulled her through.
Personally, I think she fell apart,
and professionally,
she forced herself to go on.
HESSE: Thursday, November 19th.
I've turned over a new leaf.
I will try another way.
Made drawings for children on Saturday.
They were colorful.
Red, blue, yellow, green.
In squares, each one
a letter of alphabet.
H set me off again
because they are different,
just enough to make me
wonder where I'm going,
and is there an idea,
or too many different ones?
LIPPARD: I think maybe the
relationship going bad on some level
maybe had something to do with it.
You know, it's a horrible fact
of a lot of creativity, when you're
unhappy, you often do better Work.
But, but she really
Wasn't dependent on him
as much anymore,
I think, and really branched out
and did her own thing.
HESSE". Dear Rosie, I want to
explain what I've been doing.
In the abandoned factory where we work,
there's lots of junk around.
I have, all these months,
looked over much of the junk.
I finally started using some of it.
I'm working on masonite.
On this, I build forms
with glue and paper.
On some forms, I've glued cord.
That is when she did Ringaround Arosie.
Because I was pregnant with Joseph.
HESSE". Yesterday and today
I worked on a three
dimensional contraption.
Not finished yet, but it is Weird.
I just don't know.
The old story. Defeatist.
No patience.
Or just not sure
what I really want ll lo be.
April 2nd, 1965.
Dear Sol, H is to you I want to talk
about what is on my mind.
I trust myself not enough to come
through with any one idea.
So I fluctuate between working
at the confusion,
or non-working at the confusion.
When not actually at work,
I nevertheless struggle with the ideas.
LEWITT: April 14th, 1965.
Dear Eva, you seem the same as always.
And being you, hate every minute of H.
Learn to say fuck you to the world
once in awhile. You have every right to.
HESSE". I find nothing I do gives me
the feeling that this is right.
Constant frustration and failure.
LEWITT: Just stop thinking, Worrying,
looking over your shoulder,
wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting,
hoping for some easy way out, struggling,
grasping, confusing, bitching, moaning,
groaning, horse shitting, piss-trickling,
nose sticking, eyeball-poking
ass-gouging, searching, perching,
grinding, besmirching,
grinding, grinding, away at yourself.
Stop H and just do.
HESSE". I have done drawings.
Seems like hundreds.
Clean, clear...
But crazy, like machines.
Larger and bolder,
articulately described.
Real nonsense.
LEWITT: That sounds fine, Wonderful.
Real nonsense.
Do more. More nonsensical,
more crazy, more machines.
Make them abound with nonsense.
HESSE". One should be content
with the process
as well as the result.
I'm not.
LEWITT: Stop Worrying
about big, deep things.
You must practice being stupid,
dumb, unthinking, empty.
Then you'll be able to do.
HESSE: I sit now after two days
of working on a dumb thing,
which is three dimensional.
And I should go on with it,
but I don't know Where I belong.
Sol give H up again.
LEWITT: The Work you do is very good.
Try to do some bad work, the worst you
can think of, and see what happens.
But mainly, relax
and lei everything go lo hell.
You're not responsible for the world.
You are only responsible for your work.
So do H.
HESSE'. April 23rd.
Worked all evening.
Finished An Ear in a Pond.
Dear Sol, I want to thank you
for your letter.
I finished one more.
They are good.
I'm working a third one.
Much difficulties, but at least
I'm pushing, and I will be.
I swear H.
NEKES". H was completely new,
leaving the frame
and being part of the image.
Some artists worked out of the frame,
but nearly nobody
was so radical as Eva has been.
SEROTA: These aren't Works that
you've ever quite seen before.
They're made for herself, they're
not made for an audience.
They're made in the same way as...
her diaries were made,
or her notebooks were made.
She's exploring.
You know? I mean,
you see H in the work.
You see her trying out
different combinations.
My parents were very fond
of Eva and Tom's work.
And they wanted to show.
They thought, Well,
let's party together
and show the people what Eva and Tom
had done in this year herein Kettwig.
H was really an event.
Oxenfest, as we called it,
like ox parties,
and where a whole ox was being
put on a spit and then roasted.
NEKES: It was a big exhibition.
Tom Doyle was a star,
internationally known
with a big exhibition in Bern,
and Eva was just a side show
in a small garden house.
But the people
were interested in her work.
HESSE". Show went well.
I sold two.
I will also show August 6th, in graphics
room in Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf.
She came to Germany as a painter.
Being in a world of new influences
helped her to create
her new universe of art,
which was the point
of no return, yeah'?
Now she was a sculptor.
OHARASH: Eva was in Germany
almost an entire year
before she went
to discover her background.
My father had given her information,
names and addresses,
and she sought them out.
She went to Hameln,
where my mother was born.
HESSE". We took train to Hameln,
found house immediately.
Very strange.
Mrs. Wolfe, a neighbor,
two of mom's school friends.
Visit to all of the workers,
former, of my grandfather.
It's a weird experience,
like a secretive mission,
a new generation seeking the past.
I, knowing next to nothing
of my family, my grandparents.
Off to Hamburg.
Went to lsestrasse.
CHARASH: She went to the place
where we lived,
and was turned away
by someone at the door,
which was very tough on her.
JOHANN". To not lei her in,
lei her see her home,
I think was so terrible.
So that only retrospectively can lead me
to understand how awfully difficult
it must have been for her
to face her past again.
HESSE". Dear Sol,
just returned from H and H.
Visited where I was born in Hamburg,
in Hameln, house of my mother.
Quite a trying scene.
Tears all around,
and much talk of those times
when no one knew what was happening.
I was the ghost from the past.
Their guilt and all
was just pouring out.
On to better times and doings.
Yes, Sol, we are coming home.
That trip to Germany, with all
the hazards, was empowering.
I think she came back
very, very satisfied
that she really had taken off.
HESSE: September 30th.
Almost one complete in the U.S.
Dear Arnhard, dear Isa,
we are working hard
and also very busy socially.
The year in Kettwig,
dear Arnhard, was more,
much more than some help to both of us.
The work we are now doing
does show how much we grew
and developed because of the
beautiful year you gave us.
LIPPARD: When Eva Went to Germany,
she was a sort of
post-abstract expressionist.
When she came back,
she was a funny kind of surrealist.
The work in Germany
obviously had freed her up.
And then she came back,
and I think at that point
she sort of fell under
the influence of minimalism.
I don't think anybody discouraged her
from the strange little things
she was doing in Germany,
but the art world was going
in a different direction
and she intuitively picked up on it.
When minimalism came along,
there was a whole, new world.
You know, no curves, no color,
no anything. Just presence.
It was a lot about presence.
People said, "You're a minimalist.
What does that mean?"
And I said I just had to get rid
of a lot of useless garbage
and get right down to a few essentials.
I think minimalism came out
of abstract expressionism.
It sort of toned down
the, uh, the brush stroke.
At the same time,
there was the other tradition,
people whose work was more
personal and more intense,
and perhaps more surrealist.
Eva, of course, was a transitional figure,
from a minimalist,
her friends were all minimalists,
but she was very personal.
There was a lot
of eroticism in her work.
It was so Warm and human
and full of soul.
HESSE". I feel so strongly
that the only art
is the art of the artist personally.
My interest is in solely
finding my own way.
I don't mind being miles
from everybody else.
She did talk a great deal
about eccentricity and absurdity,
particular absurdity,
that her life had been absurd,
her life at present was absurd,
and she wanted
to get that into the work.
HOLT: I just remember that wall
where she had all those
different pieces hung.
I saw her rearranging one of
those long, sausage pieces.
And she was kind of high
on the ridiculousness of it.
Her life was so full
of synchronistic oddities,
and there's this sense that,
well, we're just not in control.
The universe is pulling on the strings
and you might as well
stand back and just enjoy it.
LIPPARD: I look back on that period
with Eva's Work and think,
Oh, that was the preface to feminist art.
HESSE". Certainly I've grown
within myself.
I think my hang-ups now
are almost all related to Tom.
DOYLE: We had two lofts on the Bowery.
We lived at 134
and my studio was at 135 Bowery,
right across the street.
I would... I've worked all the time.
HESSE: It is now 12:30 a.m.
lam alone, Tom never
with me any longer.
Carries on as always and runs around.
He goes to openings and parties.
But those things
he attends never with me.
DOYLE". She was very difficult,
you know, in many ways.
{wasn't the only bad person
about the whole thing.
It was like she was
very high maintenance, you know'?
Christmas came and I bought
this beautiful pipe.
And I came home and Eva said,
"How much did it cost?"
I said, "35 bucks."
She said, "Get out."
And that was the words
I was waiting for and I left.
HESSE: All over.
Tom is gone.
He wants a divorce.
I messed all up. Begged.
He's indifferent.
Pm tired and again fee! worn
and used and taken advantage.
That is the childish Eva,
the one that is haunted
by her past isolation and loneliness.
The one abandoned
by her mother who was sick
and therefore notable
to have done otherwise.
CHARASH: That's hard.
My mother was what
we call today bipolar.
My mother was there, but not there.
There, but not there.
OHARASH: My mother had a very
difficult time adapting.
And then it came to a head
at a certain point,
and then she felt she was
no longer able to care for us and she left.
HESSE: I was shifted from home to home,
and used to be terrified.
CHARASH: H was the end of the war.
And all along, my father
had been working on getting
my mother's parents out of Germany.
But H all came to nothing.
And when my mother got the notification
that her parents were taken into the
concentration camp and they had died,
uh, she jumped from the roof.
My father did not tell us.
H was in the papers,
and kids taunted my sister at school,
and she refused to go to school.
HESSE". I had tremendous fear,
incredible fear.
I had my father tuck my blankets in
tight into my bed,
which had bars at the bottom,
which I would hold at night.
And he would have to tell me
that he'd be there to take
care of me in the morning.
OHARASH: Eva was ten when
my mother died, exactly.
That's exactly around
her birthday time.
And that's why January was the
worst month of the year for her.
Eva continued to be upset
the years after my mother died.
And at my stepmother's urging,
they sought out a therapist
and Eva started
to see Dr. Helene Papanek.
HESSE". Please, Dr. Papanek.
You've got to help me.
Or maybe soon I'll be with my mommy.
I'll talk to you. I'll tell you all.
I hope I can.
SUSSMAN: She was suffering greatly
from the circumstances
of her childhood,
and this therapy was
absolutely essential to her.
HESSE". I cannot stand the aloneness,
because H represents abandonment.
BROWN: She Wasn't happy with Tom,
and she Wasn't happy without him.
But then, she was working a lot
and that
masked her unhappiness somewhat.
HESSE". AH my stakes are in my work.
I've given up in all else.
I do feel I am an artist,
and one of the best.
I do, deeply.
GOLDMAN". The power of her purpose
was more important than what was
going on in her life.
HESSE". Finished two pieces today.
I worked hard.
GOLDMAN". She was crawling
on the floor at times,
because of the Tom business,
and still the art went on.
HESSE". Dear Isa, dear Arnhard.
The last months
have been very difficult.
H's sad how things happen.
Tom and I are separated.
At the same time, very much has
happened for both of us in our Work.
We both have exhibitions opening
the same evening, March 1st.
I went there to the Graham Gallery
when she first showed,
because I really wanted
to see what she was doing.
And I was just floored.
She did this great work, Hang Up.
It was like, so audacious.
I mean H was such a leap for the work.
And that's one of the great
sculptures of that time.
I mean it's just unbelievable.
It is not a painting.
It is not a sculpture.
It just is art.
HESSE". Hang Up is the most important
early statement I made.
H was the first time
my idea of absurdity,
of extreme feeling came through.
She used the sheets
from my house.
She said, Rosie, do you have
any sheets I could use'?
Preferably blue.
I said, "Sure, take the sheets."
And she wrapped them,
and there was a kind of
sage-like, spiritual sense
of someone using space that way.
And I always... whenever I see it,
I say, "Ooh, those are my sheets."
HESSE: The whole thing is ludicrous.
It's the most ridiculous
structure that I ever made,
and that is Why it is really good.
My father came to that gallery.
He looked so stern and so unhappy.
Knowing my father, he had to be proud
of Eva to be in an exhibition.
But I think he was just
confused by the art
and didn't understand it.
I was pretty madly in love with Eva.
And I've learned subsequently that a
lot of guys were madly in love with Eva.
She was very soulful.
I'm not sure how orthodox
or practicing Eva's family was,
but her Jewishness was obvious.
It's a spirituality
and I think H expressed itself
in Eva's art.
HONIG: She was making
these circles in grids.
And I gave her this paper
that was clay based,
and she loved it, because it soaked
the ink up in a certain way.
They were exquisite
and I've never forgotten.
They said something to me
that I wanted in my work.
HESSE: Weather varied from 103 to
107 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sol and I went
to the Modern and movies.
WAPNER: There was a very strong
relationship between Sol and Eva.
They had so much in common
and cared for each other so much.
And she expressed to me that,
"It would be so nice if I could love Sol
and if we could be together."
HESSE". The days passed
with the most unbearable heat.
I fear giving way.
Without Sol, I would.
BROWN: He adored her
and never got tired
of indulging her and being kind to her
and being an inspiration.
ANDRE: Eva was the love
of Sol Lew/it's life.
And Eva loved Sol.
I once asked Eva, I said,
"You know, Sol's a great guy.
"He's a great artist and he loves you
and you love him.
"How come you never got together?"
And she said,
"You don't go to bed with your brother,"
which was, to me, very touching.
And I understood,
you know, what she meant.
HESSE: I am numb.
Daddy is dead.
CHARASH: My father was in Europe.
He got sick and died.
It was a nightmare for both of us.
HESSE". Sol and I walked
New York City today.
There's not a thing I can do.
OHARASH: Eva was devastated
with my father's death,
just totally devastated.
And I think theirs was
a real love relationship at that time.
It was his Evachen.
HESSE: l stood tall
at my father's funeral.
I was big inside,
not the scared, helpless child.
I loved my father.
H showed.
your books you made for me
are my thoughts of you.
I would have liked you to know
about the shows and articles.
You would have been so pleased
and proud and less scared for me.
We were always too scared, you and I.
We even shared that.
WILLIAM: Please, always realize,
dear Evachen,
you will never be alone.
Do not forget, I love you very much.
And if you are strong enough
to make me very happy,
please try to be happy.
HESSE". I must now work even harder
to be strong, get well.
Yes, be happy.
Started to work.
But I know how important
it is now for me,
and that it almost alone
can again make me stand tall.
Finished Laocoon.
Cords everywhere.
BROWN: She used this Word
"making it" all the time.
She was so obsessed with making it.
HESSE". Lucy wants me to do
a big piece for show.
Anything I want to do.
I'm excited.
LIPPARD: f was doing a show called
Eccentric Abstraction.
And I thought of H in some ways as a
kind of vehicle for Eva's work.
I was looking for something
that wasn't cold, hard minimalism.
I just Wanted something else.
And I realized later
ii was something feminist or female.
I Wanted to see these hard grids
screwed up a little bit
and messed with,
and Eva was certainly doing that.
PETZINGER: In the exhibition
Eccentric Abstraction,
Eva showed Metronomic irregularity.
And there H was a great surprise.
It was her kind of minimalism.
You have those rectangular,
ordered systems.
You have the chaos of those wires.
And this contradiction
is a very important thing in her work.
SUSSMAN: She was able to learn
all the lessons of the minimalists,
and yet, take H into her own area,
where issues of absurdity and humor
and crudeness came in.
LIPPARD: The show got a
certain amount of attention
and Hilton Kramer wrote about
it in the New York Tunes.
WAPNER: When the Times reviewed it,
H gave much more space
to the men in the show
and she was pissed
and felt discriminated against.
She felt she deserved much more space
and much more attention.
And I think it was
an accurate assessment.
HESSE: I am reading
Simone de Beauvoir's Second Sex.
I always felt that all women
were up against it.
Simone kind of agrees.
A fantastic strength
is necessary, and courage.
But we'll make H.
It was harder for women
in lots of ways,
just because of the way
the art world is structured.
Men got more encouragement
and got more support.
HOLT: Women Weren't even seen,
so that you were invisible.
Eva was doing this extraordinary work
and being seen by a few people.
So that broke some barriers,
and I could see the cracks happening
in the male dominated system.
Her belief was simple.
I'm an artist.
And I want to be known as an artist.
Any time they tried to make her a
woman artist, she got furious.
HESSE". The way to beat
discrimination in art is by art.
Excellence has no sex.
December 23rd, 1966.
H is a fitting ending
for another strange,
bewildering, sad...
and yet strangely productive year.
A fine abandonment.
And Daddy's death.
And now, on to work and other changes.
HESSE". January 1st, 1967.
I'm working well and eager to go on.
Might even be ready for first
one-man show by next fall.
Tonight We meet at Smithson's.
Midnight. It Will be his 28th birthday.
SMITHSON: We became part of a certain
community that was around there.
Sol Lewitt was certainly
very central to H.
HOLT". We hung outwith
Dan Graham, Mel Bochner and
Eva and Sol, and Carl Andre.
Went to each other's studios.
People were feeling their way along,
like nothing was clear, yet.
It was all in formation.
So having conversations and exchanges,
at that moment was powerful.
What do you mean by that'?
I mean, you have to define
yourself better than that.
You just can't throw words around.
You have to really be precise.
Oh, words don't mean anything.
Words are...
Things are really
happening in New York.
This is the time of Max's
Kansas City and all these
artists were still hard drinking,
nightlife kind of people.
HESSE". We went to Max's Kansas City.
Carl, Andre and Mel had heated
discussion until closing.
DAN GRAHAM: I think intellectually,
she was quite brilliant
and underestimated by all
her minimal art friends.
She was very, very ambitious
so she was looking at everybody's work.
Whereas the minimal artists,
were pretty self-satisfied
that they had the answer.
LEWITT: She was very involved with
the specific medium
that she was working with.
A wonderful thing of the '60s,
was, uh, Canal Street technology.
And so, I mean, she got into that.
HOLT". Canal Street was just a wonderland.
I loved walking up and clown
Canal Street, looking at all the materials.
And often the materials
would lead you to an idea.
HONIG: It was like, shopping in Tiffany's,
except that Tiffany's
had little rubber things
and you didn't know, What they Were.
ROBERT: There was a rubber store.
There was stores
that sold old shell casings.
Everything was down there.
It was part of being in Lower Manhattan.
I mean, Lower Manhattan was so great.
Trucks were going by, all the time and,
H had so many wonderful,
stimulating things going on there
that affected all of us, you know?
You know the closest you come to it
for me, now, is Home Depot. (CHUCKLING)
You know, I go in there and it's like,
"Oh, look at all this stuff."
But it's not Canal Street.
No, it isn't. It isn't.
HESSE". Spent morning,
shopping on Canal Street.
So! joined me.
Must have spent $20 to $30.
HESSE". Friday, Canal Street.
Take magnets, try washers.
Two wires and weights.
LEWITT: She said that she
Wanted to make her Work ucky.
Not yucky, but ucky.
She had to do something with it that,
uh, made it feel good to her.
GRAHAM". Eva was dealing with
materials, that were debased.
They were industrial materials,
that were waste materials.
I think Eva just had
a fascination, maybe with
the kind of junk culture that
you could find in New York.
LEWITT". But, I mean,
she took all these things
and made them so completely,
uh, her own that they lost
all of their junky quality.
LIPPARD: I can see Eva just sort of
sitting there, with her materials,
almost like they were,
it was another creature,
and working with them.
But not another creature, maybe herself
because they were so self-identified.
I mean, his was where she put
a lot of her anxieties,
was into her art, I think.
I don't want to get too psychology
oriented on this because,
it's very unpopular
now to do that. But...
But with Eva, it's almost impossible
not to think psychologically,
when you know her work,
and her as a person.
HESSE: Friday, July 28th.
Called Donald Droll until midnight.
ROBERT". Donald Droll was more
or less running Fischbach,
which was such a powerhouse gallery.
And he was very skillful
at recognizing artists.
He had a great eye.
He had a great eye, yeah.
HESSE". Friday evening.
Donald Droll said, if I'm
ready, I can do a show.
I can have the main
large room this spring.
LIPPARD: And that was a big deal.
It was a huge opportunity.
HONIG: Eva had gorgeous,
black, long hair.
She symbolically, out all of her hair off.
H was gonna be another time in her life.
H was away from being this wife,
and H was all gonna be about her work.
HESSE: Friday, March 8th.
Dorothy B. Movie.
Factory for epoxy. Rubber or plastic.
Flexible durability.
GOLDMAN". She was always expanding,
going beyond what she knew.
That was her purpose.
HESSE". Silicone. 120 cos, 20 cos.
Silastex, 120 cos.
SUSSMAN: A group called
Experiments in Ari and Technology
had come together, to bring artists
into the orbit of people
using new technologies.
Eva Hesse was admitted to the group,
and she attended lectures
in the use of polymers and latex.
HESSE". One, liquid. Two, clear rubber.
Three, sets after 24 hours. Four...
Matter matters.
And I think it's really clear
in Eva's work that,
the material manifestation of the form
comes out of an intense
investigation of the matter.
HESSE". Tuesday, April 30th.
Go to Arco, Canal Street, Aegis.
Aegis Reinforced Plastics
was created specifically to
help artists create
their particular things,
including people like
Bob Morris and Tom Doyle,
and Rob Smithson.
Bob Morris brought Eva in and
showed her what you could do.
How'd fiberglass act,
when it was saturated?
When it was hard, it would
look like it was still soft.
That was one of the good things,
because she liked soft.
I guess that we made a connection and
a couple of months later,
We started working on her pieces.
The first piece I made for Eva,
was cal/ed Repetition Nineteen.
And she showed me some drawings.
Very simple line drawing of a cylinder.
She gave me dimensions and 19 of them.
We made up these cylinders,
coated them with fiberglass,
and lei them harden up.
And then we had
to peel out the newspaper.
She comes all the way out,
to Staten Island
and, um, and she's horrified.
I mean, beyond horrified.
They were just too perfect.
So I told her, Look, you make
the buckets out of paper mache.
I will make them exactly, the way
"you've made them, in fiberglass."
So she set about to do it again.
And this time, with her hand,
she did something to each piece,
and it was not cylinders.
For her, the specificity
was personal, H was physical,
and was her touch, her way.
JOHNS". A couple weeks later,
she comes out.
She's got these 19 buckets
and they're bigger, now.
And so we made these buckets,
coated them with the resin,
put them on the table,
put the light on and bing!
They were just like, this gorgeous thing.
She was ecstatic.
I mean, this was just the
best thing she'd ever seen.
At that point, we were a team.
It was just let's do this,
and we're gonna make sculptures
and she was terribly excited.
She said, "Why not come over
and live with me?" So I did.
She had a show coming up
at the Fischbach.
And so we would wake up in
the morning and H was,
"Let's do the art."
And we'd work all day and all night,
until we'd just collapse.
We made a session,
which was basically a box
that we covered on the outside,
with a very thick layer of fiberglass.
And then we would drill holes
through this piece of fiberglass,
with 29,000 holes, we made in that.
And I helped her put
the tubes in this thing.
GOLDMAN". Accession,
it's called, the tubes?
Never seen anything so sexual
and fantastic in my whole life.
And Eva just would sit there,
and boom, and boom, and boom
in a meticulous, methodical rhythm.
In they went.
When you put your head inside,
you couldn't hear anything, outside.
And of course, she lived on the Bowery.
And H was noisy, and there's drunks
and there's yelling and
there's all kinds of noise.
You couldn't hear a thing.
H was wonderful.
You'd go in there and H was
just like being in a cave.
Her feeling was that the art
was the artifact of the process.
The art was in the making,
the artifact was what was left over.
It was just this wonderful
time of just, creating art.
And I was madly in love with her.
Absolutely just, um...
I don't think she was
madly in love with me.
I know she was infatuated
with me, that's for sure.
There was no question about that.
Uh, but she was in love with her art.
HESSE: Tuesday, June 4th. Aegis.
Rubber. Four pints together. Tube plastic.
Give Doug this.
Sunday, July 7th.
Organic and inorganic polymers.
Chain polymers.
HOLT". She rubberized fabric, cheesecloth.
Thai was discovering a new process.
It wasn't something that was
already there in the world.
HESSE: Monday, July 8th.
New work. Rubber, fiberglass.
I let her know that plastics
and rubber are fugitive.
Rubber will last, the best,
ten, 15 years.
And H gradually starts cracking
and H starts turning to dust.
She said, "Good.
Let them worry about it."
Talking about the museum people.
"So what'? I want what
the effect is now."
HESSE: Sunday, October 27th.
Sans, complete, fini.
Turned out great.
Saturday, November 16th. Show.
HESSE". I would like the work
to be non-work.
To find its way beyond
my preconceptions.
To go beyond what I know, and can know.
H is something.
H is nothing.
TIMPANELLI: I Went to the opening.
Ah! And I'd been looking
at art since I was just a kid.
I saw work that
I had never seen before.
And yet, as absolutely
original as it was,
it was incredibly
reflective of our time
and of all time, and of real feeling.
SEROTA". Eva's work arsed
her new sensibility.
H was distinctive.
H was her own.
Fragile, beautiful, tentative.
It was all those things that sculpture,
was not supposed to be.
HESSE: "Eva Hesse.
This is a first one-man show
of uncommon interest.
Ms. Hesse's work is located uneasily,
but interestingly between two poles.
The realm of highly rationalized form,
and the realm of
surrealist dream objects.
We had about eight or nine shows,
we wanted to see on that day.
And the last one on the list
turned out to be Eva Hesse.
And I walked into
the Fischbach Gallery,
and I suddenly saw,
the most beautiful things
Pd ever seen and the most fascinating.
TONY GANZ". There was
this extraordinary work.
And Eva herself is there
in the back room.
And she looks not unlike my sister Kate,
a fact which is not lost on him.
MOTOR". I was charmed
and fell for her immediately.
Thought she was marvelous.
He decides to do something
he hasn't done in many years,
which is to buy some work.
JOHNS". When the Ganzs
bought some pieces,
she came back to the studio,
and she said,
"They're gonna buy some of my pieces.
They collect Picassos, also.
"That's all, me and Picasso." (LAUGHS)
It was just like, "Wow!"
She would come to dinner
rather frequently,
and we always had a lovely evening.
HESSE". Sold four more drawings.
Whitney Spring Show,
TIME Magazine arts section.
She was one of the artists in New York.
She was the only woman, basically,
that was in the group.
She was one of the boys.
She went into
an extraordinary work mode.
I mean, she was
extraordinarily productive
and beginning to emerge,
and get responses from places.
HESSE: So much is going on.
L had lots of success.
I'm asked to be in so many shows,
I can't keep up.
In October, I'll go to Europe,
have one man show at
Gallery Ricka in Cologne.
For March, I'm preparing
work for the Whitney.
Show includes
Carl Andre, Robert Morris,
Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra and me.
JOHNS". She was getting
a lot of headaches.
She would get dizzy
and couldn't really function.
She'd be squinting and just
this severe pain.
And I kept on saying to her, "Look,
you've got to see a doctor.
And she just avoided H.
LIPPARD: {remember the night,
and we were all there with Eva,
and we realized that
something really was wrong.
Her headache was just terrible.
Previously, the psychiatrist
had said H was physical,
and the physical doctors
had said H was psychiatric.
And she was very ridden by anxieties,
and so H seemed possible,
that was what was going on.
But at that point,
she was really in pain
and I think we figured out,
that this was
more than we thought it was.
HESSE: April 10th. I was
admitted to New York Hospital,
to be examined, tested.
CHARASH: She was therefor days,
and they couldn't find anything Wrong.
And they did a spinal tap
and thank God.
She would have died that day.
HESSE". My tumor was so enlarged,
H had no free space to move.
So H was tipping my brain over.
There Wasn't much time.
Saw images, color flashes.
Very, very beautiful.
Was not afraid.
Wanted to touch,
connects with those with me.
I was very in touch with them,
and they with me.
I spoke.
L smiled. I fantasized.
I had visions. I loved.
I could not speak enough.
I saw faces. I saw love, happiness.
OHARASH: She was operated and I come in
there, I can really still see it.
And she's sitting up in bed,
bandaged around the head,
and she's feeling fantastic.
And she just, now,
the headache was gone
and she wasn't in pain,
and she felt great.
And she said, "How lucky I am,
they've got it all
"and I'm just so lucky."
HESSE: I think back to Where it all began.
I was so HI.
I had signs, but I would
not recognize them.
One can deny anything.
People thought when she got sick,
that the materials were to blame.
I mean, there were other
people working with latex,
but she Was, like I said,
really into her materials.
So she was probably breathing
them and, you know,
tasting them, even. Who knows'?
JOHNS". I mean this is
the beginning of fiberglass.
But H really is not that toxic,
and her tumor was far too large
to even think that,
that small amount of exposure
that she had,
gave her that brain tumor.
WAPNER: I often try to tease out,
was it the resins she worked with,
or was H just some genetic DNA fluke?
We'll never know.
HESSE". In the last year
and now, since my illness,
I just Want to live, let go,
call the past, past
and have another try.
My God, anyone who knows my history,
who knows me, knows I deserve it.
H's true.
There's never been a time or
scene that qualifies as norm.
Extremes on every side.
TIMPANELLI: She stayed
with me in Woodstock.
She came with her bag of paints.
It was right after. She didn't have the
energy to go back to
the studio to be alone
and to do sculpture.
So, she was going to do
these paper paintings.
HESSE: Today is the third
day I feel a little better,
a little stronger,
a little more hopeful,
a little less sickness.
How grateful I am. I have much to do.
TIMPANELLI: We got up early
in the morning.
We had muesli, a cup of tea,
and then we'd go to work.
And the work was on the porch.
And it started to rain,
and it never stopped.
But we worked every day.
I had never worked on art like that.
We just devoted ourselves to working
and she to making these paintings,
these beautiful paper paintings.
She scrapes through them,
she made lines.
SUSSMAN: She was layering
on washes of paint in the same
delicate way that she
had handled her latex,
until the point where the
consistency of the material
on the paper became right for her.
They have the ambition of
paintings and they have been
compared to the late works
of Mark Rothko.
sometimes go shopping.
And she bought these worms,
once, fistfuls.
And I asked her, I said,
"Oh, what are you gonna do?"
She said, "I don't know, yet."
She said, "I'll play
with them for a while."
And she'd look, and she would decide
what to do with something.
SUSSMAN: One of the great
things she teaches us,
I think, is play.
That really the best thing
any of us can do,
with materials, is play with them.
Play with them until the form
begins to have an impact.
And she absolutely
couldn't stop playing.
And I think it saved her life.
HESSE". The lack of energy
I have, is contrasted
by a psychic energy, of rebirth,
a will lo start lo live again,
work again, be seen, love.
I fight sleep to respond
to this real excitement
that is frustrated because
there is little I can do.
ROBERT". Oh, H would be
so easy to give up and say,
"I can't deal with all
of these negative things,
"I can't think about my work,
"so I'm just going to concentrate
on my medical problems."
But Eva insisted on having H all.
SYLVIA: I think she did it because
she didn't know What else to do.
Made her feel alive.
It made her feel alive, right.
Her chance to be a great artist
was on her, and she knew it.
She knew she was doing
really good work.
And of course, everybody was
being very supportive, too.
You know, a lot of very well
known artists, you know,
were very fond of her
and really told her
this is great, keep going,
this is wonderful.
So it was, in a funny way,
it was the great time
of her life, I think.
JOHNS". She came back to the Bowery,
and she called me,
and it was just, "Let's go,
let's get to work."
Then we started to do
that sculpture right after.
There was so much energy.
We were giggling and having
this wonderful time.
The stuff was dripping, all over the place.
And this just, this wonderful
cobwebby kind of thing
all across the room.
We had a rough time, getting around H.
HESSE". Climbing around,
getting things up,
moved about, around and hung.
Four hands changing,
manipulating changes.
Things to allow, things to happen.
Suspended hangings enabling
themselves to continue,
connect and multiply.
GOLDMAN". She took that feeling,
right after her cancer operation.
The scars and the wearing of the wigs
and all that it meant,
now she had vanity.
Eva had vanity.
So she took H all
and put H into that piece.
She had this horrible wig from Sassoon.
But she would laugh about H.
I do remember visiting
her in the hospital
and having her whip off her wig
with great pride and say,
"Look what I look like bald."
She thought it was quite funny.
In such a hard year,
with so many operations
and so many things going wrong,
um, we had a lot of
good times. Amazing!
And I really credit that to something,
that I was just doing
and she did naturally,
was to live in the moment.
HESSE". There certainly is
the desire to write and work.
I can't get started.
Days pass. I do so very little.
I did have a tape interview
with Cindy Nemser.
Three different days.
a good question for you.
SUSSMAN: Untitled Rope
Piece is the next to last
major piece of sculpture
that Eva Hesse, made in her life.
And H's quite possibly, her masterpiece.
She describes making this piece
as being a kind of choreography.
She was dipping the rope,
into buckets of latex,
and then working with an assistant
and hanging H from
the rafters of her studio.
So it's serendipity
of taking a found material,
processing that, and letting
gravity do its thing.
HESSE". Hung irregularly,
tying knots as connections,
really letting ll go, as ll will,
allowing H to determine more
of the way H completes itself.
Non forms, non planned,
non art, non nothing.
SEROTA". She was using her
own body, her own experience,
dealing with the issues
of her own mortality.
Coming to terms with that.
CHARASH: It was not much
longer after that,
that she was rushed
to New York Hospital,
because she was in excruciating pain.
HESSE". H is time again.
I have another brain tumor.
OHARASH: She was operated,
on March 29th.
It was that surgery, did have an effect.
She did lose it after that surgery.
The decision was made by Helen
not to tell Eva that she was
sick and going to die.
TIMPANELLI: I was there when
she asked the doctor,
was this going to come back again?
We were holding hands.
And he said, "Yes,
this is the kind of tumor
"that might come back again."
That was it. She knew.
People said, "Oh, she didn't know."
Of course she knew.
HESSE". I knew. No fear.
I did not fear death.
I knew it was there, could be.
But I did not fear.
TIMPANELLI: When she was in
the hospital the third time,
I went to visit.
She was feeling better.
She was sitting up.
She had a newsprint pad
and she was making something.
And she said, Look, what do you think?
I said, They look like a bunch of feet.
What is that?
And she laughed. She says,
"Oh, I didn't think of...
Oh, they're feet. Isn't that wonder..."
And we laughed and she
made a little model.
And then, of course, she made
that great sculpture.
JOHNS". She was very sick at that point
and she couldn't Work.
But she had a couple of students
that were star pupils,
and they made the piece.
TIMPANELLI: They put them
in too much of an order.
She said, Oh, I don't want
them in that order.
She wanted more absurd.
She had a show at the Steuben Glass,
on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.
The Seven Poles were in that
show, and at the same time,
she was the cover of Artforum.
Contingent was on
the cover of Artforum.
And that was at the time when
she was really not copasetic.
We out H out.
We scotch taped it across from her bed.
And at one point, she says,
"That. That's me."
HESSE". lam not unhappy, not at all.
I look at the past
three-and-a-half years
with a kind of amazement.
AH that has come to pass.
My changes outside and inside.
Loan be proud.
OHARASH: Eva died on May 29th,
1970, a Friday.
She was 34 years old.
LEWITT: Dear Grace, {received a telegram
from Helen about Eva's death
when I arrived here Saturday.
I am so sad.
You must be, too.
She was a good friend,
a best friend for both of us.
It still hasn't hit home, because
I'm not there to see and talk to her.
When I realize that H could
never happen again,
I'll be heartbroken.
Love, Sol.
OHARASH: Despite the fact that
Eva Hesse has had exhibitions
throughout the world, this is more special,
perhaps more emotional,
because this is the city
where Eva and I were born.
PHYLLIDA HARLOW". I first encountered
Eva Hesse's work,
and it was like feeding a starving person.
It was exactly what I had been waiting for.
She's telling me yet again,
the work can come from you.
And it has this deep sense of
intimacy and this closeness.
You can still feel the presence
of the act of making.
The artist is there, embedded
in what is, what you're looking at.
It's one of the most exciting
takes on painting,
that I've seen in the last few years.
H's great to see something so material
and so bright and captivating.
LIPPARD: She's part
of history, now. f mean,
she is somebody that young artists
will always know about,
which is wonderful.
SEROTA: I don't think
the Work has yet been fully digested.
H's still full of surprises.
There's plenty to pull out of it.
So I think the inference
will continue to grow.
The ripples will keep coming
out of Ringaround Arosie.
In 1972, the Guggenheim
mounted a memorial exhibition.
And H was incredible.
H was the whole Guggenheim.
I don't think all of us realized
how good that work was.
I mean, you know,
H was five years' work.
I had a show at the Guggenheim
of approximately five years' work.
And it was one ring around
the museum, you know'?
When you see the volume of what
Eva was able to accomplish
in that period of time,
H makes you realize
what you're able to do in five years.
GOLDMAN: Everything that
happened to her,
good or bad, empowered her.
That's the magnificence of art.
WAPNER". I remember there were about
three or four of us,
sitting around talking.
And she was describing her work
and how ephemeral it was,
and how she wasn't
concerned with its lasting.
And that the materials might degrade
was part of the package.
And she said, "See this glass?"
And she threw it against
the fireplace and it smashed.
And she said, "That's how my work is."
HESSE: Life doesn't last.
Art doesn't last.
It doesn't matter.