Tate is delighted to have secured a London showing of a major retrospective of the internationally celebrated sculptor Eva Hesse, following the Whitney Museum of American Art’s cancellation of their showing of the exhibition. The exhibition will be presented at Tate Modern from November 2002 - March 2003, as part of an international tour, which also includes the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum Wiesbaden in Germany.
Tate Director, Nicholas Serota, comments: Eva Hesse was an artist of extraordinary power and influence, and this was too great an opportunity to miss.
Tate Modern expressed interest in the exhibition in 2000 but the fragility of the work made a fourth venue for the tour impossible. However, cancellation of the Whitney presentation opened a further chance to bring the show to London. Given the fragility of Hesse’s work, it is unlikely that a further opportunity will ever arise to present an exhibition of her work in the UK.
Eva Hesse died of a brain tumour in 1970 at the age of thirty four, and her brief life and exceptional work have given her an almost mythic status in the art world. She was born in Hamburg in 1936, and in 1938 her family escaped Nazi persecution by fleeing to Holland, eventually making their way to London, and later in 1939 to New York. Her career as a sculptor developed during the 1960s and her work became known for its unusual materials including string, resin and latex which she used to make sculptures that explored the expressive possibilities of abstract form and themes of sexuality. Since her first posthumous retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1972, her work has been acquired by major museums and collections around the world. She has strongly influenced younger artists both in her work and as a role model.
The exhibition, organised by the former Whitney curator Elizabeth Sussman,
features over 150 of the artist’s works including the majority of her major sculptures, paintings and works on paper. The exhibition will be curated by Sheena Wagstaff for its London showing.
A further change in Tate Modern’s exhibition programme involves the Donald Judd exhibition, originally scheduled for autumn 2002. As a result of changes in the exhibition programme at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, who are sharing the Donald Judd show with Tate, the exhibition has been moved forward to the spring of 2004. This will enable the exhibition to be shown simultaneously with Tate’s major Brancusi exhibition, offering the prospect of a stimulating juxtaposition of works by two major sculptors of the twentieth century.