Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art Announces Exhibition of Paintings by Eva Hesse

. April 15, 2011 . 0 Comments

Eva Hesse Spectres 1960, an exhibition of rarely seen paintings by the artist Eva Hesse (1936–1970), will be presented in the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art beginning September 16, 2011 through January 8, 2012.

Created when Hesse was just 24 years old, this group of nineteen semi-representational oil paintings, while standing in contrast to the works for which she is well known, nonetheless constitutes a vital link to her later Minimalist sculptural assemblages. Although several recent museum exhibitions of Hesse’s work have featured a few of these paintings from 1960, none have considered them as a group, all together.

There are two distinct groups within the Spectres series. In the first, the paintings are intimate in scale and the loosely rendered figures are gaunt, standing or dancing in groups of two or three yet disconnected from one another. The second group, in traditional easel-painting scale, presents both odd, alien-like creatures and certain depictions that resemble the artist herself.

The exhibition considers these evocative, spectral paintings not merely as self portraits but as states of consciousness—thereby opening a dialogue about Hesse’s aspirations versus the nightmares and visions that remained constant throughout her life. Working against critical commentary that has seen these works as abject exercises in self deprecation, Eva Hesse Spectres 1960 examines them as testimony of private struggle.

Image: Eva Hesse (American, born Germany, 1936–1970). No title, 1960. Oil on masonite. 15 3/4 x 12 inches (40 x 30.48 cm). The Estate of Eva Hesse, courtesy Hauser & Wirth.

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238-6052
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Category: Fine Art

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