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"Eva Hesse"; a documentary on creating art, one woman's personal journey & the exciting creative community of The Sixties.
"Eva Hesse"; a documentary on creating art, one woman's personal journey & the exciting creative community of The Sixties.
"Eva Hesse"; a documentary on creating art, one woman's personal journey & the exciting creative community of The Sixties.
468 backers pledged $66,386 to help bring this project to life.

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"Eva Hesse", a feature-length documentary film

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"Eva’s work was distinctive. It was her own. Fragile, beautiful, tentative. It was all those things that sculpture was not supposed to be."  

Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate Museums

Accession ll  Photo by Norman Goldman
Accession ll Photo by Norman Goldman

We know you're pledging to help get the film into the world. But why not  reward yourself? We did the research; you get great stuff!

*EVA HESSE'S BOOKLIST (did you know she loved Beckett?). 

THE LETTERS OF SOL AND EVA   Limited Edition, 100 copies.  

*NEW BOOK REWARD! "EVA HESSE, ONE MORE THAN ONE". signed copy, 10 available. 

 *TICKETS TO THE PREMIERE

*SIGNED PRINTS BY BOB AND SYLVIA MANGOLD

*A MEAL WTIH EVA'S SISTER, HELEN HESSE CHARASH

The options go on and on but if you want something you don't see? Email us, we welcome your ideas! We have SO much content, and only a 108 minute film to present it all.

Explore our filmmaking process and the story of Eva Hesse and her artwork below:

A Story of the 1960s

Eva Hesse in Bowery Studio circa 1968
Eva Hesse in Bowery Studio circa 1968

As the wild ride of the 1960’s 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. When she died in May, 1970 the life of one of that decades’ most passionate and brilliant artists was tragically cut short. And although she had only a single one-person show of her sculpture during her short life, the subsequent years have seen multiple retrospectives and purchases for the permanent collections at major museums from the Guggenheim to the Tate, from MoMA to the Pompidou.

Photo of Hesse by Barbara Brown circa 1963, from a newly uncovered cache of photos by this photographer. Quote from Hesse's journals.
Photo of Hesse by Barbara Brown circa 1963, from a newly uncovered cache of photos by this photographer. Quote from Hesse's journals.

 An Extraordinary Woman 

"Eva Hesse" is a feature-length documentary exploring the journey of this extraordinary woman; an artist whose life was in dynamic interplay with the development of her ground-breaking work. The story takes place in the excitement of 1960’s NY; the downtown art scene with the creative community, in their studios and on the streets plays a major role as does the burgeoning feminist movement. The film also explores Hesse’s youth as a Jew in 1930’s Germany, a country she would return to in 1964 to face her past and forge her future. 

Hesse in front of "Metronomic Irregularity" 1966. Photo by Norman Goldman.
Hesse in front of "Metronomic Irregularity" 1966. Photo by Norman Goldman.

Hesse Unpublished Journals, Newly Uncovered Photos & Rare Footage

Interviews with major art world figures including artists Dan Graham, Richard Serra, Carl Andre, Robert and Sylvia Plimack Mangold and Nancy Holt (in her final filmed interview before she passed) expand the focus of the film beyond Hesse's own experience into the community of artists that populated downtown Manhattan in the sixties.

Photo by Gretchen Lambert, 1966
Photo by Gretchen Lambert, 1966

Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate Museums, Whitney Curator Elisabeth Sussman and writer Lucy Lippard, all of whom curated important Hesse exhibitions, add another perspective. The interviews are mixed with archival footage from the period, newly uncovered still imagery and rare home footage as well as beautifully lit shots of Hesse’s art which capture not only the story of this artist but also sketches a vibrant landscape of the time. 

Detail "Vinculum", 1968
Detail "Vinculum", 1968

The narration, primarily Hesse’s words spoken with wonderful sensitivity by Selma Blair (Hellboy, The Fog) is excerpted from her voluminous and passionately written journals and gives an understanding of what she was thinking and feeling, adding a deeply personal and emotional element to the film.

Selma Blair voicing Hesse's journals
Selma Blair voicing Hesse's journals

Eva wasn't the only writer in the family and Bob Balaban (Girls, Moonrise Kingdom" voices Hesse's father reading from William Hesse's wartime journal and from deeply moving letters to his daughter. Eva also corresponded often with her close friend and colleague, Sol Lewitt who is voiced by Patrick Kennedy (Boardwalk Empire).

Helen, William and Eva Hesse circa 1942
Helen, William and Eva Hesse circa 1942

How We Got Here

Four years ago, we embarked on a journey that has taken us thousands of miles, engaged us for thousands of hours and called upon hundreds of crew members, interviewees, researchers and supporters to band together so that we could tell this story before it slipped away. Eva was born in 1936, and many of the folks who knew her are in their 70's, 80's and beyond. We knew that this was a now or never opportunity. Happily, many individuals and organizations both in the US and Europe agreed. 

Letter to Rosie Goldman, written during Hesse's artist residency in Kettwig, Germany 1965
Letter to Rosie Goldman, written during Hesse's artist residency in Kettwig, Germany 1965

There is now a finished film which will debut in April of 2016 at Film Forum in NY and then play around the country and throughout the world. So here we are on Kickstarter, looking to expand the project's community of support which will carry the film through this next exciting stage. Read on for more about Eva, her creative community and the work for which she is justly celebrated.

Installation View of "Chain Polymers", Hesse solo show at Fischbach Gallery 1968
Installation View of "Chain Polymers", Hesse solo show at Fischbach Gallery 1968

Creativity and the Engaged Life

Eva Hesse explores the universal challenge of living an engaged life; a life of courage, discipline and joy even when the world is telling you that you have little chance of success. It is a story about art and about life; and how the two combine to create one of the most universal of life’s experiences.

Photo by Hermann Landshoff, 1968
Photo by Hermann Landshoff, 1968

More pics and words on...

facebook Eva Hesse Documentary pinterest Eva Hesse Documentary

twitter @evahessedoc / instagram @evahessedoc / tumblr @evahessedoc

Eva and Tom Doyle on roof of 5th Ave. loft. Photo by Barbara Brown.
Eva and Tom Doyle on roof of 5th Ave. loft. Photo by Barbara Brown.
Eva in her Bowery Studio. Photo by Barbara Brown
Eva in her Bowery Studio. Photo by Barbara Brown
Drawing for Gabi Scheidt, 1964
Drawing for Gabi Scheidt, 1964

And in her tiny, first NY apartment after graduating from Yale in 1959. Some things never change...

Eva Hesse, 1959  photo by Stephen Korbet
Eva Hesse, 1959 photo by Stephen Korbet

Risks and challenges

It's Finished! Time to Move Ahead

Now that we have a finished the film it's time to get it out there. That's where you come in! There's a lot of interest from theatrical venues and museums but in order for us to move forward we need funds to market and distribute the film. We need to deliver a great trailer, build a dynamic website, hire someone to get the word out and create a high quality package of deliverables for our distributor.

The challenge for us right now is to be able to move forward while all the energy is buzzing about the film. It's time to share it and we are looking to build a community to help us carry the project into this next stage. We got this far with the support of foundations, a grant from the German government, European pre-sales and close friends and family. It does not matter the amount - it matters that you take action and we can show that there's support for a film about a great artist, an independent woman of the 60's who was a feminist before the word was coined.

If we want to see our stories in the world, if Hollywood is not bringing them to the theaters, then it's up to us. Join Team Eva today; let's show 'em that women's stories count and celebrate Eva Hesse's life, art and legacy.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    INSIDE INFO. Our grateful thanks on the film's website and access to our special backer updates with 'backstage' pics and stories

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    EVA'S CHOICE: BOOK AND FILM LIST - In her unpublished journals and datebooks Hesse kept detailed lists of books she read and films she saw. We will share her picks with you, pdf format. Plus thank you on website.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    STREAMING EVA. Stream the film on your digital device before the commercial stream available. And a heartfelt thank you.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    PHOTOS OF HESSE ARTWORK 3 unpublished digital photos of of Hesse's major works. Print them, share them, put them in a digital picture frame. Plus streaming link and thanks.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    LIMITED EDITION SOL LEWITT 'DO' LETTER. The Blanton Museum's publication of LeWitt's famous letter to Hesse in 1965 which was created for the exhibit "Converging Lines: Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt." Oversize print on heavy paper. These are the last 50 that the museum has and they are donating them to the campaign!

    Also streaming link and thanks.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    LIMITED EDITION PRINT of a photo of Hesse work or backstage moments from the creation of the film. 5" by 7" printed on archival paper.

    Also streaming link and thanks.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    LIMITED EDITION EVA HESSE QUOTE TEE. Words of wisdom on life & art. "Excellence has no sex" or "I'd like to do a little more wrong". Designed exclusively for this campaign. Men's or women's cut, multiple sizes. Also includes streaming link and thanks.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    LIMITED EDITION: THE LETTERS OF EVA AND SOL. Including Sol's "DO' letter. Great friends and revelatory correspondents, Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt wrote to each other frequently during Hesse's 15 month residency in Kettwig, Germany. In April of 1965 LeWitt penned what is commonly known as the 'DO' letter, the subject of our most popular reward. The Blanton Museum's version is gone, so we're creating a new reward: that Spring's full correspondence including Eva's side of the conversation! (See update #6 for more detail). Plus streaming link and thanks.

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    LIMITED EDITION HESSE QUOTE TOTE BAG.
    Hesse words of wisdom on a quality canvas bag with long handles. "Excellence has no sex" or "I'd like to do a little more wrong". Designed exclusively for this campaign. Also includes streaming link and thanks.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SPECIAL EDITION DVD. This version will not be available commercially. Comes with a limited edition signed photo by the director of a Hesse sculpture. Plus thanks.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    SIGNED BOOK "CONVERGING LINES: EVA HESSE AND SOL LEWITT" by Veronica Roberts. Signed by Author. Also includes streaming link and thanks. 3 available.

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    SIGNED BOOK "IRRATIONAL JUDGEMENTS: EVA HESSE, SOL LEWITT AND 1960S NEW YORK" by Kirsten Swenson. This soon-to-be released book examines the close friendship and significant exchange of ideas between Hesse and LeWitt, focusing on the breakthroughs of the artists' intertwined careers. "Irrational Judgments" offers a new understanding of minimal, post-minimal and conceptual art amid the era's political and social upheavals. Signed by Author. Also includes streaming link and thanks.

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    SIGNED BOOK “EVA HESSE, ONE MORE THAN ONE”. A 240 page color catalog created for the Hesse retrospective at the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 2013-14. Edited by Brigitte Kölle and Petra Roettig the book includes texts by Lucy R. Lippard, Cindy Nemser, Renate Petzinger, Robert Smithson, Gioia Timpanelli and Franz Erhard Walther, among others.

    Our director, Marcie Begleiter whose essay "Eva Hesse and a Sense Of Space" is also included in the book, will sign them for our backers who chose that reward

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    POSTER & TICKETS. Poster for theatrical release plus 2 tickets to the theatrical run in LA or NY. Signed by Director & Producer, plus steaming link and thanks.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    LIMITED EDITION PHOTO HESSE ARTWORK. 11" by 14". Chose from 5 different images of Hesse's art. Signed by the Photographer (who also happens to be our director). Plus streaming link .

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    LUNCH AT THE STUDIO OF SCULPTOR MIKE TODD. Eva and Mike Todd were close friends in the mid-1960s, sharing studio visits and a group of friends that included the artist Paul Thek. Visit him in his spacious Los Angeles studio, have a meal and talk about the sixties. (travel not included). Plus Streaming link and thanks.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    PREMIERE SEATS. Join us in NY or LA for the premiere of the film in those cities. 2 seats. Plus streaming link and thanks.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    GET YOUR CREDIT! Name in the feature film's credits, 2 tickets to the film in LA or NY plus streaming link. This award MUST BE CLAIMED BY OCTOBER 27th!

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    ORIGINAL STORYBOARD USED IN THE PRODUCTION OF THE FILM. One-of-a-kind drawing by the director. Signed. Plus streaming link and thanks.

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    ROBERT MANGOLD SIGNED PRINT. From "Ring' series. See Update page for pic of print. Plus streaming link and thanks.

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    SYLVIA PLIMACK MANGOLD SIGNED PRINT. 1993 Aquatint. See Update page for pic of print. Plus Streaming link and thanks.

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    DINNER WITH THE FILMMAKERS. Join the director and producer for dinner and behind the scenes stories of the production. NY or LA. dinner for 2 included. Plus streaming link and thanks.

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    WALK THE WHITNEY WITH CURATOR ELISABETH SUSSMAN. Elisabeth Sussman, the Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at The Whitney, is one of the most respected curators in the world. She is also one of the top authorities on the life and work of Eva Hesse. From the retrospective of Hesse she curated at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 2002, to the Hesse sculpture show at the Jewish Museum 4 years later, Sussman has spent a significant portion of her professional life researching and responding to the life and work of our film's central figure.

    Elisabeth served as a consultant to the film, and appears on camera in Eva Hesse. Spending time with her was one of the most enlightening and joyous experiences on this project. Enjoy a tour with Elizabeth Sussman walking the floors of the New Whitney. What a reward to honor this very special pledge. We know from experience, it will be an afternoon to remember!
    (NY location, travel not included.) Plus streaming link and thanks.

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    BENENSON COLLECTION PRIVATE ART TOUR. MOMA board member and our executive producer, Lawrence Benenson, has a very large, remarkable collection of modern and contemporary art. Imagine winding down a curved private road, passing sculpture that any museum would be proud to have in their collection. Major works by Huma Bhabha, Henry Moore, and Fernando Botero dot the landscape. If this is any indication of what lies inside the doors of this collector's home and outbuildings, you know there's an amazing afternoon ahead.

    We first met Lawrence Benenson through a mutual friend. We had been told of his collection, but nothing prepared us for experience. Three hours later, the tour through his astonishing collection of modern and contemporary art left us speechless. The collection was assembled with passion and commitment. Benenson's world of art is personal and world class. Nestled in a large estate in Greenwich Connecticut, Lawrence will guide you through the collection that few people have had the fortune to see. (And if you're lucky, he may let you toss a tennis ball through his revered Noguchi.) Greenwich, Conn. location; travel not included.

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    HESSES IN LA. Visit one of the largest collections of Hesses that exist outside a museum setting. Important late sculpture, exquisite drawings and early wall reliefs can be experienced in a manner available to very few people outside the museum context. In addition the collection is also home to numerous other important drawings and sculptures by post-war artists. Up to 4 participants. Travel not included, plus streaming link and thanks.

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    PAUL SCHIMMEL takes you on a tour through the new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery in a historic 100,000 square foot flour mill complex in Los Angeles' burgeoning downtown Arts District. Tour the opening exhibition with the curator and talk about the site's transformation from a sprawling collection of late 19th and early 20th century buildings and outdoor spaces into a dynamic, multi-disciplinary arts center. Up to 6 participants. Plus streaming link and thanks. Weekdays only.

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    VISIT SOL LEWITT'S ART COLLECTION AND LUNCH WITH CAROL LEWITT, SOL'S WIFE. Along with being a great artist LeWitt was a major collector of art from the 1960s through his death in 2007. Tour his collection in Chester, Conn. with Carol LeWitt and have a great lunch for up to 6 people. (travel not included.)

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    LUNCH WITH EVA'S SISTER, HELEN HESSE CHARASH. There are things only a sister knows. If you could ask Eva's sister, Helen anything about Eva, what would it be? Sit down over an intimate lunch with the woman who knew her best and who now heads her estate, Only one available in NY, travel not included. Plus streaming link and thanks.

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    SOL LEWITT VILLA - ONE WEEK ON AMALFI COAST. Extraordinary opportunity to spend a full week in Sol LeWitt's Villa on Italy's breathtaking Amalfi Coast. Offered by his wife Carol, surround yourself with LeWitt's art while gazing out on the sea from this 3 bedroom (with ensuite baths) home perched on a cliff beside the Mediterranean. A perfect reward for the fortunate LeWitt - Hesse admirer. (travel not included) See update on the LeWitt rewards for photos, Art in America article about the home available on request.

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Funding period

- (30 days)