Eva Hesse / Hannah Wilke: Erotic Abstraction
Eleanor Nairne, Jo Applin, Anne Wagner. Contribution by Amy Tobin
Acquavella Galleries & Rizzoli, 2020
An in-depth look at these two American artists, who explored issues of sexuality and feminism in the 1960s and 1970s in their sculpture and photography.
This exhibition and accompanying book offers the first opportunity to appreciate the resonances between the studio practices of Eva Hesse and Hannah Wilke. Both artists found themselves drawn to unconventional materials, such as latex, plastics, erasers, and laundry lint, which they used to make work that was viscerally related to the body. They shared an interest in repetition to amplify the absurdity of their work. These repeated forms–whether Hesse’s spiraling breast or Wilke’s labial fold–sought to confront the phallo-centricism of twentieth-century sculpture with a texture that might capture a more intimate, psychologically charged experience. Eleanor Nairne, the curator of the exhibition, writes the lead essay, followed by texts by Jo Applin and Anne Wagner. An extensive chronology by Amy Tobin includes primary-source materials, which bring a new history of how both artists’ work sits in relation to the wider New York scene. Also included are excerpts of both artists’ writing.