new-york

Eva Hesse

Pat Hearn Gallery

As with Pier Paolo Calzolari, symbolism is latent in Eva Hesse’s art, the basis of its expressive power. It now seems more evident than ever. Perhaps the passage of time is necessary to make the spiritual character of an art manifest, to show that its materiality serves a deeper purpose than to establish a novel appearance. In the case of art, “time will tell” means that if a work still looks purely material after it has been in the world a certain period of time—if it seems nothing but the sum of its “formal facts,” as Clement Greenberg called them—then it is worthless. The ’80s development of neo-Expressionism has made us sensitive to the symbolism latent in other art. It also reminds us that the best abstract art still has spiritual import, and that it is impossible for us to regard its material appearance as significant without our feeling this import.

In Hesse, more than in Calzolari,

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