Eva Hesse’s childhood wasn’t easy. The sculptor was born in Hamburg in 1936, to an observant Jewish family. In 1938, when Hesse was two, her parents put her on one of the last Kindertransport trains and she was relocated to the Netherlands. The family eventually made it to New York City, settling in Washington Heights. Hesse was ambitious and excelled in fine art studies. She received a B.A. from Yale, where she studied under the abstract painter Josef Albers, and moved toward Minimalism. Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, and Yayoi Kusama were all close friends. In 1965, a year in Germany with her husband, Tom Doyle, changed everything. The pair lived in an abandoned textile mill, and Hesse found herself harnessing machine parts and tools to create sculptures that quickly eclipsed her abstract paintings. But time was short. Hesse died from a brain tumor in 1970, at age 34. This show exhibits her early paintings and the sculptures for which she became famous. —E.C.
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