Eva Hesse
American, born Germany, 1936–1970

Hang Up, 1966

Acrylic on cloth over wood; acrylic on cord over steel tube
182.9 x 213.4 x 198.1 cm (72 x 84 x 78 in.)
Through prior gifts of Arthur Keating and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Morris, 1988.130

© The Estate of Eva Hesse. Hauser & Wirth Zürich London

Hang Up

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During her short career, Eva Hesse produced an extraordinarily influential body of work that responded to the reductive formalism of Minimalist sculpture through an exploration of the expressive possibilities of abstraction. Trained as a painter under Josef Albers at Yale University from 1957 to 1959, she considered the sculpture Hang Up to be her first significant work of art. An ironic commentary on painting, Hang Up was, according to the artist, her first piece to achieve the level of “absurdity or extreme feeling” she intended. Privileging painting’s marginal feature—the frame—Hang Up playfully ignores the medium’s inherent two-dimensionality by means of the cord that protrudes awkwardly into the gallery space. Playing with language, the title refers both to installing a painting and to a psychological preoccupation.