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Eva Hesse

Eva Hesse (2016)

April. 27,2016
| Documentary

German American artist Eva Hesse (1936 – 1970) created her innovative art in latex and fiberglass in the whirling aesthetic vortex of 1960s New York. Her flowing forms were in part a reaction to the rigid structures of then-popular minimalism, a male-dominated movement. Hesse’s complicated personal life encompassed not only a chaotic 1930s Germany, but also illness and the immigrant culture of New York in the 1940s. One of the twentieth century’s most intriguing artists, she finally receives her due in this film, an emotionally gripping journey with a gifted woman of great courage.


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Humaira Grant

It’s not bad or unwatchable but despite the amplitude of the spectacle, the end result is underwhelming.

Derrick Gibbons

An old-fashioned movie made with new-fashioned finesse.

Fatma Suarez

The movie's neither hopeful in contrived ways, nor hopeless in different contrived ways. Somehow it manages to be wonderful


It is an exhilarating, distressing, funny and profound film, with one of the more memorable film scores in years,


Starting in Germany, just as the nazi party was coming into power full force, Eva had moved to Netherland, then on to New York, in 1939. Fortunately they had family there, so were able to leave while leaving was still possible. Having visited many museums with her husband Tom, Eva was inspired in various media... drawings, artwork, plastic, string, fiberglas. Apparently, she was quite frustrated with herself, and had a lack of final vision of what the outcome of the piece was supposed to look like. Her family and friends tried to encourage her, but we know sadness and darkness were in her parents' blood. More sadness -- she died of a tumor at the young age of 34. Director Begleiter has Hesse's (ex) husband and friends talk about Hesse's life, her work, and her emotions. The good news out of all this is that she actually did get to exhibit her work (and even sold some pieces) while she was still alive --- that is a goal that so MANY of the greats never got to see during their own lives. Written and directed by Marcie Begleiter,this seems to be her only directing project. It's pretty straight-forward. I hadn't realized the amount of work Hesse was able to produce during her short career, and we get to see quite a few of her works in the film. Pretty good doc. Currently showing on netflix.


Best artist documentary I have seen in years, very moving and really unprecedented insight into this amazing artist. The contributions from artists that knew here were amazing, as well as some of the recovered journal entries. So interesting to see the thoughts this artist was happening as she was dealing with her illness and at the same time her meteoric rise as an artist on the international scene. Must see documentary.


Eva Hesse has been dead for over 45 years. In the short time she had, she became an A- list artist whose work is sometimes classified as post-minimalist. The work is so different from anything else, you may not immediately be drawn to it. But the organic forms, the inventiveness of the materials, and the playfulness make it worth spending time with, and it still has a significant following and is displayed in major exhibits in the U.S, and Europe.The film does a fine job with the spare resources available--old photos and film, augmented by interviews with people who knew Hesse well. It traces how Hesse's art developed across her brief career with many shots of the work itself along with Hesse's diary entries and comments by contemporaries, including famous ones like Sol Lewitt and Carl Andre.The film also sketches her personal history, and you get a feeling for what she went through and how she responded to various life events, but as one of the men who loved her said, she really was mainly focused on her work.