American Masters: Eva Hesse

Air date: 08/31/2018

Premieres Friday, August 31 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
Available to stream September 1 on and on PBS apps

As the wild ride of the 1960s came to a close, Eva Hesse, a 34 year-old German-born American artist was cresting the wave of a swiftly rising career. One of the few women recognized as central to the New York art scene, she had over 20 group shows scheduled for 1970 in addition to being chosen for a cover article in ArtForum Magazine. Her inventive sculptures were finally receiving both the critical and commercial attention they deserved. When she died May 1970 from a brain tumor, the life of one of that decades’ most passionate and brilliant artists was tragically cut short. American Masters deepens the understanding of this extraordinary artist, not only in terms of her innovative work with fiberglass and latex, but also the life that provided the fertile soil for her achievements. Through dozens of new interviews, Hesse’s artwork and a wealth of newly discovered archival imagery, the documentary traces Hesse’s path and delves deep into the creative communities of 1960s New York and Germany. Written and directed by Marcie Begleiter.

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Eva Hesse and her sister Helen on the streets of New York, circa mid-1940s (Credit: William Hesse )

Eva Hesse being playful at her studio on the Bowery, circa 1968. (Credit: Herman Landshoff )

Eva Hesse with “Metronomic Irregularity” at the opening reception for “Eccentric Abstraction,” Fischbach Gallery, NY 1966. ( Credit: Norman Goldman)

Eva Hesse at her working table at her 134 Bowery studio. (Credit: Courtesy of Hesse estate)

Eva Hesse and her husband, sculptor Tom Doyle, in Woodstock, New York, circa 1962. (Credit: Courtesy of Hesse estate)

Iconic artist Eva Hesse working in her Kettwig, Germany, studio in 1964. (Credit: Courtesy of the Hesse estate)

Iconic artist Eva Hesse Eva Hesse at her studio at 134 Bowery. (Credit: Gretchen Lambert, 1966)

Eva Hesse next to “Several” at her 134 Bowery studio, circa 1968. (Credit: Herman Landshoff )

Iconic artist Eva Hesse standing behind her “Repetition Nineteen” Installation at the Fischbach Gallery in New York, 1968.(Photo Credit: Norman Goldman)

Eva Hesse. (Photo Credit: Herman Landshoff) *Photo credit required for use*