Eva Hesse



She died at age 34. Yet during her short lifetime Eva Hesse made a lasting impact on the art world. I had little familiarity with Hesse, having seen but one sculpture at MoMA.


I learned about this fascinating woman, and her work, from the documentary Eva Hess R Film By Marcie Begleiter.

Sent by their parents on a Kindertransport, Hesse, aged two, and her older sister Helen, left their native Germany during the rise of Nazism. They were later joined by their parents, eventually settling in New York. Hesse was schooled in American abstract painting and commercial design practices. She originally pursued a career in commercial textile design, but eventually her practice as an expressionist painter led her to increasingly experiment with industrial and every-day, or “found” materials, such as rope, string, wire, rubber, and fiberglass. While she’s best known for her sculptures, Hesse also painted and created “combos.” Some of her artwork can be seen now at the Met Breuer, MoMA, the Drawing Center and the Jewish Museum.

The movie is playing at the Film Forum through May 10th and it’s really worth seeing.

Art in the Comfort of Your Home

Don’t let the predicted NYC “Blizzard 2015” deter you from seeing art. Most museums now have their collections online and with the Google Art Project you can view collections from around the world; create your own personalized gallery; or find artists that you like.

There are also a variety of films and talks you can watch that provide an in-depth look at an artist — their work and their process. Here are some to consider that I’ve really enjoyed.


Chuck Close: A Portrait in Progress (You Tube) — documentary that explores Close’s inspiring life story while showcasing his creative and exciting portraits.

Gerhard Richter Painting (Netflix streaming) —  Richter’s creative process juxtaposed with intimate conversations and rare archival material. You can watch Richter create a series of large-scale abstract canvasses, using fat brushes and a large squeegee to apply (and then scrape off) layer after layer of paint.

Waste Land: Vik Muniz (DVD) — Filmed at the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Muniz  photographs a group of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. In the end, he partners with them to recreate photographic images of themselves out of the collected garbage.

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture (Amazon Prime Instant Video) — Filmed over 3 years it captures David Hockney’s return from California to his native Yorkshire. H is shown painting outside through the seasons and in all weathers.

Ai Wewei: Never Sorry  (Netflix streaming)– a portrait of China’s most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic.  Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. The movie shows his work and how the Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.


NYC-ARTS is a program which airs weekly on a local PBS station — Channel 13 or 21 — but can be viewed online as well. Many of the programs focus on exhibits at local museums and feature talks by curators. A recent program featured Paula Zahn in conversation with Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow, the curators of the exhibition “Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection,” which is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

TED Talks

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.  You can search “art” topics on the TED Talks website and find a wide range of talks. I especially enjoyed “Art with wire, sugar, chocolate and string,” a talk by Brazilian artist, Vik Muniz.

Do you have a favorite movie, program or talk about or with an artist? Share the link and I’ll add it to the list.

Being There Without Being There: Art Exhibitions on Screen

If you live in New York, then you should go see the Matisse Cut-Outs at MoMA. But if you can’t make it to the museum, you can go to the movies to see it, and four other exciting exhibits from museums around the world.

Fathom Events, in association with Arts Alliance and Seventh Art Productions, is bringing five art exhibitions to select U.S. cinemas with “Exhibitions on Screen.”   The first film, “Matisse from MoMA and Tate Modern,” begins on January 13th and is playing locally at Union Square Stadium 14, Empire 25, and Kips Bay 15. The other four exhibitions to be screened are:

Rembrandt from the National Gallery London & Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Vincent van Gogh – A New Way of Seeing from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

Girl with a Pearl Earring and Other Treasures from the Mauritshuis in the Hague

The Impressionists from the Musée de Luxembourg Paris, National Gallery London, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art

(Thanks RDK for the heads-up)