Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction

Eva Hesse. Untitled. 1966 497

Enamel paint and string over papier-mâché with elastic cord, Overall approximately 33 1/2 x 26 x 2 1/2" (85 x 65.9 x 6.4 cm). Ruth Vollmer Bequest. © 2021 Estate of Eva Hesse. Galerie Hauser & Wirth, Zurich

Starr Figura: This is an untitled work by Eva Hesse. It's one of a number of hanging pieces that she made in early 1966 that features a sausage form, or sometimes it's called a boomerang or a gourd.

Hesse was one of a number of artists in the mid-60s who began using discarded materials, such as string or electrical tubing, or wires or ropes, or latex, and fashioning them into these almost absurd, very witty and often a little bit erotic sculptures.

What's fun about this piece is that it's abstract, but it's a very phallic kind of artwork. It's almost like a parody of a phallus.

Hesse did not like her work to be interpreted in any kind of a gender-based way. But at the same time, there is this kind of assertion of gender and this ownership that's taken in a powerful way over issues related to the body in this work.

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