Eva Hesse Connection

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Me at SFMOMA, April, 2001, making fiberglass reproductions of sections of ‘Sans II’ for the museum’s conservation  archives. The urethane molds, that I owned at the time this photo was taken, and were were made by me in 1968 for the original, are being used here. I am peeling out/off one of the finished fiberglass castings. A second piece is in the background; the fibers and resin draped over the mold, are still hardening. The fuzzy white stuff around the edges of the two pieces, is just unsaturated glass fibers that get trimmed off later before joining. The four sections that I made and joined, are pictured and mentioned in one of the images below. The heat lamps in the background are being used to hasten the cure of the polyester resin.



Me behind pieces from wall piece 2
Me behind the latex pieces from ‘Wall Piece’ in Eva’s studio. ‘Rope Piece’ is on the right.
A setup in Hamburg Germany photographing ‘Accession III’.
Fishbach Gallery purchase order-1
I stumbled on this purchase order when I was going through my archives. ‘First version’  she hated. ‘Second version’ is in the Museum of Modern Art, NYC and the third became ‘Accretion’. The purchase order is signed by Donald Droll and myself.


‘Accession III’— One of the first four sculptures made for the Fishbach show. There are 28,000 holes, hand drilled one at a time. I itched for over a month from the fiberglass dust. It was worth it!!! Stunning piece.
This is a sample test piece made by me, so Eva could see what the pieces, ‘Accession I and II’ made with perforated metal, would look like in fiberglass. Age has yellowed it considerably as it is shown here.
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This is the hand drill that I used to drill the 28,000 holes in ‘Accession III’ It sits on my desk. I use it for inspiration.
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Me with ‘Rope Piece’ again in Eva’s studio. This and the above photo are the only ones that I am aware of, taken of me at the Bowery studio.
‘Tori’— I made a sculpture for Robert Morris called ‘Torus’ some time before RM had even introduced Eva and I. While making this piece, I mentioned to Eva the distant similarity in topological form; hence the name Tori.. “It’s a very sexy piece,” said Eva. This is made from left over window screen forms from ‘Repetition Nineteen’, without their paper mache covering. The mache covering was replaced with polyester and fiberglass and reshaped.




‘Sans II’— displayed at the San Francisco MOMA 2002 with all five sections rarely displayed all together. Three of the segments I made while Eva was in the hospital. The color differences of the five individual sections are attributed to the different conditions that the pieces endured during the years after the construction and this installation.
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This shows the original ‘Sans II’ on the left, displayed with the new freshly made fiberglass piece on the right, made by me at the SFMOMA conservation lab, April 2001, 43 years after the original. Notice its translucence and bluish  iridescence. You can see me constructing this reproduction in the first photo at the top of this page.



‘Connection’—the pieces for this sculpture were made in an afternoon by Eva, Martha Schieve, a student of hers from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and me. It was a very sloppy endeavor with most of the gooey fiberglass falling off the wires that the slippery, saturated  mat was draped on and twisted around.  I ran around picking the globs up and re-draping them again and again. Much fun!! If I remember correctly, a few pieces of the saturated matt fell off of its armature and fell on the floor overnight. Eva and I then remade those few failures the next day. This piece, ‘Connection’,  was made as a redo directly after my blooper of misunderstanding of her directions over the phone in my making of ‘Ice Piece’, which I made by myself while I stayed at the studio and she was in the hospital.


‘Right After’—Eva and I made this piece the day after she came home to the Bowery, after her first operation. Her head was  wrapped with surgical gauze with a trickle of blood running down her cheek. It was probably the most exhilarating hours we ever spent together. Laughing and giggling like infants. The result is in another realm. I believe it is her best piece. Here it is displayed at SFMOMA 2002. It was made in response to me explaining to Eva, before she went to the hospital, that fiberglass came in the form of a continuous band of hundreds of tiny glass fibers that could be hung after saturating them in resin, to make droopy solid shapes. I bought a spool of this continuous strand roving while she was in the hospital. When she knew the time that she would be coming home, she called me, as I was staying at her studio at the time, and asked me to hang a bunch of bent coat hanger hooks from the ceiling across a wide area. The next day made history. On  permanent display at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Eva's comments about Right after
This is a handwritten note by Eva, commenting about she and I constructing ‘Right After’. The crossed comments at the end obviously didn’t happen.






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‘Aught’—on the wall and ‘Augment’ on the floor. ‘Aught is made with two layers of latex saturated canvas with crumpled polyethylene in between. Made by Eva, her students and me, over a period of weeks. ‘Augment’ has no stuffing.


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A better view of ‘Augment’
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‘Area’—made with the scrapped pieces of wire mesh (window screen) and latex covering, left over from the construction of ‘Repetition Nineteen III’. The rest of the screen was used to make ‘Tori’.
‘Vinculum II’— This piece we made in a hurry specifically for the Bern Kunsthalle show in Germany. In spite of it being a rush job it is quite an expressive, thought provoking sculpture.


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‘Sans III’— Made by Eva and me. This piece has a interesting presence with it’s extreme length to width ratio, drooping and slithering down the wall. This picture does not show the entire piece as it crawls across the floor for a few units before ending. It evolved from ‘Sans I’ and ‘II’ that used fewer but larger units.
Repitition 19 drawing-1
This is the drawing Eva showed me as a reference for making the first version, ‘Repetition Nineteen’, as mentioned in the purchase order above. I copied the piece precisely with straight sides just like she drew it. The finished piece sat in the studio, in a back corner, under a bench. No one knows of it’s whereabouts. She hated it. After the dust settled between Eva, Donald Droll and myself, I said that she would have to make paper mache forms that looked exactly like what she wanted; I would do the rest. The result of the second try is called ‘Repetition Nineteen III’, now on permanent display at MOMA NYC.


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‘Repetition Nineteen III’ —The first piece I did for Eva. The result is “too beautiful to be my art”-Eva.  This piece sealed our relationship. It is now in the permanent collection of MOMA in NYC.


‘Ice Piece’—made by me while Eva was in the hospital. She instructed me to wrap some fiberglass mat around some lengths of wire with loops on each end. She was not pleased with it and so we remade it. The remake is ‘Connection’ that was made with Martha Schieve, Eva and myself as noted in another picture, with caption on this page.
‘Rope piece’—photographed from the corner behind it’s place in the studio.
Eva as I knew her.
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‘Rope Piece’—constructed by Eva, David Magasis and touch up by Bill Barrette and me.
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‘Wall piece’—constructed by Eva, Bill Barrette, Jonathan Singer with the final touches done by me.
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‘Contingent’—Eva was shown a picture of this piece on the cover of Art Forum just a short time before she died. “That’s me!!!”— a quote from her as she lay in her hospital bed.  Constructed by Eva, some of her students and me. The early morning sun came streaming through the window the morning after she and I had just finished hanging this wonderful piece in the studio the night before. The sight was glorious! The rubber was a light translucent tan glowing in the sun, with the fiberglass almost transparent, having a slight blueish almost iridescent glow to it. That moment is forever locked inside.


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‘Accretion’—constructed by me. One of the original four made for the ‘Chain Polymers’ show at the Fischbach Gallery. Before this piece was conceived, I showed Eva how I could cover or wrap un-cured fiberglass chopped and matted strands, saturated with polyester resin over a surface or tube, covered with a thick slick-sided material called parting paper, to make a form or mold. The form or tube can then be removed without sticking to the form, and the parting paper will peel out easily from the glue-like polyester-glass compound. Nevertheless, getting all of the paper out of these tubes was quite the challenge.




‘Chain Polymers’—installation of the first four fiberglass pieces, at Fischbach Gallery. All fabricated by me. Two sections of ‘Sans II’ made for this show are off camera.
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Eva looking over ‘Repetition Nineteen’ now in the permanent collection of MOMA NYC.
Eva next to ‘Right After’. Constructed by Eva and myself right after her first cancer operation and chemo, posing with a wig. Sadly, the chemo took her hair. The wig concealed the gaping hole in her forehead. The pieces done after this first operation seem to me as being freer and more visually expansive.


‘Expanded Expansion’—constructed by me, Eva and some of her students. The piece consists of three sections of panels that are delineated where there are two poles touching each other. The test section is the first two panels of cured rubber latex spread over cheesecloth, on the left. The darkest one was a panel that she had laying around. We made a second similar panel and I showed her how we could join the pieces of rubber with improvised hollow poles of strong fiberglass. The second batch of panels are the four panels in the middle and the seven on the right, were the third. The first two sets of panels together were not monumental enough and the total number just had to be an odd number. Monumental indeed!!!


Eva’s studio on the Bowery, NYC where we both lived and worked; studio on top floor and  the apartment below.
‘Sans II’—on the right as it was immediately photographed after its construction by me in 1969, and on the left, a contemporary photo showing how it has darkened 48 years later.


Detail of ‘Repetition Nineteen’.
‘Poles’— is the last fiberglass (and also the last) piece that Eva made. This is the only fiberglass containing piece that I did not have a major part in the fabrication of. For this piece I set up the hangers in the ceiling, put up the hanging wires and set out the materials for her students to use in the construction. She wanted to have one fiberglass piece that did not have my influence in it’s construction. I left the studio before the students arrived.