Contemporary Art, 1960s–present

Conceptual Art and Other Modern Art Movements

Who was Eva Hesse?

Eva Hesse (1936–1970) was a German American painter and sculptor whose Jewish family dramatically escaped Nazi Germany. Her highly experimental art is usually categorized as minimalist; however, unlike many minimalists, narrative and personal history are an important part of her work. Her installation sculpture Rope Piece (1969–1970), a tangled, slightly frightening web of rope, string, and wire, has a different form each time it is moved to a new location. The piece has been described as a “drawing in space.” Her work Accession II (1968–1969), now at the Detroit Institute of Art, is a cube made of vinyl and steel. The cube is open at the top, revealing a lush layer of fiber-like tubes—a reaction against the severity of much minimalist art.


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