"Diaries" by Eva Hesse

Diaries Eva Hesse, Barry Rosen, Tamara Bloomberg

Publication date:
05 Apr 2016
Yale University Press
904 pages: 203 x 137mm
2 b-w illus.

The long-awaited publication of the personal diaries of pioneering American artist Eva Hesse

Eva Hesse (1936–1970) is known for her sculptures that made innovative use of industrial and everyday materials. Her diaries and journals, which she kept for the entirety of her life, convey her anxieties, her feelings about family and friends, her quest to be an artist, and the complexities of living in the world.
Hesse’s biography is well known: her family fled Nazi Germany, her mother committed suicide when Hesse was ten years old, her marriage ended in divorce, and she died at the age of thirty-four from a brain tumor. The diaries featured in this publication begin in 1955 and describe Hesse's time at Yale University, followed by a sojourn in Germany with her husband, Tom Doyle, and her return to New York and a circle of friends that included Sol LeWitt, Mel Bochner, Lucy Lippard, Robert Mangold and Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Robert Ryman, Mike Todd, and Paul Thek.  
Poignant, personal, and full of emotion, these diaries convey Hesse’s struggle with the quotidian while striving to become an artist.

Eva Hesse, an influential painter, sculptor, and draftsman, was one of the greatest American artists of the 1960s.  

"In Hesse’s writings . . . we meet a woman who chose a path of risk and experimentation."—Julia Felsenthal, Vogue

"[In] Hesse’s very extensive and self-reflexive journals . . . she endlessly questioned her practice, her relationships, her attitudes and instincts. . . . [Hesse] was extremely vulnerable, yet managed to process her trauma through her work and writing. . . . Her diaries make her—pardon the expression—an open book."—Benjamin Sutton, Hyperallergic

"The publication of the diaries is a welcome event, offering a portrait of a young artist determined to take a seat at a male-dominated table—or a spot in their shows."—Jori Finkel, Art Newspaper

"The diaries suggest how profoundly [Hesse’s] life and work were shaped by the value she placed on the unconscious. . . . She [also] writes about her ultimately fatal illness. . . . She’s surprised that she is not afraid of death, and while this does not impress her as courageous, it certainly seems so to the reader."—Amy Taubin, Artforum

"Hesse’s diaries are a fascinating and compellingly human document."—Alexander Adams, Art Newspaper