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Eva Hesse at Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco

Gallery shows of Hesse’s fragile sculptures are rare

New York’s art-going public is still smarting from the Whitney Museum’s cancellation of the retrospective of the late post-Minimalist sculptor Eva Hesse, which originated last year at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney had to cancel for financial reasons due to low attendance after 11 September. That retrospective is currently wowing audiences at London’s Tate Modern (until 9 March), and meanwhile San Francisco gets a second taste of Hesse, in the form of a gallery exhibition at Paule Anglim (8 January-8 February). The show includes early drawings (1959-60) and sculpture (1966-67), all works from Hesse’s estate. Gallery shows of Hesse’s fragile sculptures are rare. Indeed, this is the only US gallery exhibition during the run of the retrospective. Works such as the sculpture “Untitled (18063)” (1966) shown here, demonstrate Hesse’s versatility in experimenting with a variety of materials, in this case painted rope, net, papier mache and weights. During her brief life, Hesse toiled in her studio, experimenting with ever more unusual materials; her work eluded easy categorisation, and her untimely death cannot but prompt the question of how art would be different today, were she still around and making work.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Eva Hesse'