AJFF: Eva Hesse’s Maximal Impact, Minimal Life

AJFF: Eva Hesse’s Maximal Impact, Minimal Life

By Marcy Levinson

The documentary “Eva Hesse,” about the German-born Jewish American postminimal movement artist, is a wonderful film for any art fan, whether collector, creator or just curious learner.

A part of the New York art scene in the 1960s, Hesse worked long and hard as an artist to help usher in the postminimal movement, which included subtle, large-scale works made from fiberglass, latex and different plastics. This art form gained her major fame in an artistic landscape dominated by men.

These works are very different from the works depicted in Hesse’s early career. Her work and style evolve throughout the film.

The film is wonderfully narrated from Hesse’s personal journals and includes intimate and detailed interviews with her former husband and fellow artist Tom Doyle, her sister and several other close friends who are also artists.

After only 10 years in art, at the age of 34, Hesse was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In less than one year, she died.

The film flows nicely, and the transitions from still images to video interviews to narrated journal entries are flawless. It is edited in such a way that by the end of the film, you may feel as if somewhere — albeit well hidden — there actually was an interview with Hesse herself. (Not really, but it’s nice to think.)

Two messy, paint-and-glue-covered thumbs up.

Click here for screening details and tickets.

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