eva lewitt

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Dear Eva,

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itchin, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and you [sic] ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing-clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful – real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working – then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can – shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.

I would like to see your work and will have to be content to wait until Aug or Sept. I have seen photos of some of Tom’s new things at Lucy’s. They are impressive – especially the ones with the more rigorous form: the simpler ones. I guess he’ll send some more later on. Let me know how the shows are going and that kind of stuff.

My work had changed since you left and it is much better. I will be having a show May 4 -9 at the Daniels Gallery 17 E 64yh St (where Emmerich was), I wish you could be there. Much love to you both.

Sol

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Postcards from Converging Lines: Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt (February 23 – May 18, 2014), Blanton Museum of Art. Celebrating the close friendship between two of the most significant American artists of the post-war era: Eva Hesse (1936–1970) and Sol LeWitt (1928–2007).

All postcard images courtesy of Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio.  Eva Hesse Archive, Gift of Helen Hesse Charash.  © The Eva Hesse Estate. Courtsey Hauser & Wirth  © Estate of Sol LeWitt/ Artist Rights Society (ARS) 

Do A letter from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse, read by Andrew Scott and Benedict Cumberbatch

“In 1960, pioneering American artists Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse met for the first time and instantly clicked, quickly forming a strong, deep bond that would last for ten years and result in countless inspirational discussions and rich exchanges of ideas.

The original letter 

Part of letter:

“And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end.” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to

DO“

Read by Benedict Cumberbatch    

Read by Andrew Scott

Font: Letters Live

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“Do a lot of little things - it’s better than large things.”

Postcard from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse, New York, New York, postmarked July 2, 1966

All postcard images courtesy of Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio.  Eva Hesse Archive, Gift of Helen Hesse Charash.  © The Eva Hesse Estate. Courtsey Hauser & Wirth  © Estate of Sol LeWitt/ Artist Rights Society (ARS)

Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, rumbling, rambling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse shitting, hair splitting, nit picking, piss­trickling, nose sticking ass­gouging, eye­ball poking, finger pointing, alley­way sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil eyeing, back­scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself.

Stop it and just do!

—  Sol LeWitt’s advice to fellow artist Eva Hesse on dealing with a case of creative block. Read their correspondence on The Huffington Post
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To accompany Converging Lines: Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt, this exhibition-specific tumblr will publish many of the postcards sent between LeWitt, Hesse, and their contemporaries, as well as featuring written perspectives from the exhibition curator’s Veronica Roberts and others. To introduce the project, Veronica ruminates on the personal correspondence between these two artists.

Just as LeWitt’s wall drawings have been keeping art students around the world busy for nearly fifty years, the copious number of postcards and letters he wrote kept the United States Postal Service in business; (no wonder the post office is not doing so well these days.) Thirty-nine particularly special postcards that LeWitt wrote Hesse are reproduced in the exhibition and its catalogue. They are thoughtful, funny, and charming—classic Sol. And being the artist he was, he thought carefully about all of its ingredients: the image on the postcard, the message inside—even the stamp he used.

LeWitt’s dry sense of humor really come through in the postcards he dispatched Hesse from around the globe. He sent her an image of Moroccan sand dunes, lobster traps in Maine, and a roaring hippopotamus in the Netherlands. One of my personal favorites is a Smithsonian Museum postcard of an Egyptian mummy bull. (Well, according to the postcard, it’s a bull; it looks a more like a bunny to me.) Wrapped in bandages with just its eyes revealed, it looks like a cross between a rabbit possessed by the devil and an early Christo sculpture. On the back, he wrote a succinct, tongue-in-cheek message: “Dear Eva, I hope this doesn’t scare you.” 

As a curator, I love reading the personal correspondence of artists but I know my attachment to them goes deeper than that. I know part of the reason I’m drawn to them is to see how clearly devoted Sol and Eva were to each other as friends, always making the time to remind each other of this in ways small and big. And I know I personally respond to them because I too have always enjoyed writing letters and receiving them. People seem to appreciate receiving handwritten letters now more than ever, in part, I’m convinced, because we are drowning in the irritating efficiency of emails, which pile up like car wrecks. Unlike emails, which insist upon a response, letters are gifts with no expectations attached—a chance to say something kind without causing someone to blush or requiring anything in return. 

All postcard images courtesy of Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio.  Eva Hesse Archive, Gift of Helen Hesse Charash.  © The Eva Hesse Estate. Courtsey Hauser & Wirth  © Estate of Sol LeWitt/ Artist Rights Society (ARS)

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Nancy Holt, Outdoor Artist, Dies at 75 By RANDY KENNEDY FEB. 12, 2014

Nancy Holt, a pioneer in the land-art movement of the 1960s and ’70s and the creator of one of the era’s most poetic works — “Sun Tunnels,” four huge concrete culverts set in the Utah desert to align with the sun on summer and winter solstices — died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 75.

The cause was leukemia, representatives of her estate said.

Ms. Holt, who lived and worked for many years in Galisteo, N.M., was one of the few women to pursue monumental sculpture in the American West, a place whose wide-open spaces drew a generation of restless artists like Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria, James Turrell and Robert Smithson, whom Ms. Holt married in 1963.

A child of the Northeast, Ms. Holt described her first exploration of the West, around Las Vegas in 1968 with Smithson and Mr. Heizer, as transformative in her life as an artist; during the visit, she said, she did not sleep for four days.

“It seemed to me that I had this Western space that had been within me,” she said many years later. “That was my inner reality. I was experiencing it on the outside, simultaneously with my spaciousness within. I felt at one.”

She began her career writing concrete poetry and making photographs, films and videos. From the beginning she was interested in how perception is shaped, and she used the mediums of lenses, viewfinders and other structures to alter the way urban space, land and the firmament are experienced over time.

“I wanted to bring the vast space of the desert back down to human scale,” she once wrote about “Sun Tunnels.”

Throughout her career Ms. Holt was underrecognized, in part because her best work — “Dark Star Park,” an installation on a once-blighted site in Arlington, Va.; “Sky Mound,” a partly completed earth sculpture and park made from a landfill in the New Jersey Meadowlands; “Up and Under,” a sinuous tunnel-and-berm construction outside a small city in Finland — could not be shown in museums or galleries. And she held a fairly dim view of the traditional art world anyway.

“If work hangs in a gallery or museum,” she once said, “the art gets made for the spaces that were made to enclose art. They isolate objects, detach them from the world.”

Ms. Holt also devoted considerable time to protecting the legacy of Smithson, who died in a plane crash in Amarillo, Tex., in 1973 while surveying a site for one of his earth works.

In 2008 she helped rally opposition to a plan for exploratory drilling near the site of Smithson’s greatest work, “Spiral Jetty,” a huge counterclockwise curlicue of black basalt rock that juts into the Great Salt Lake in rural Utah. After Smithson’s death, Ms. Holt never remarried. She told one interviewer, “My art was enough for me.”

No immediate family members survive.

Nancy Holt was born on April 5, 1938, in Worcester, Mass. An only child, she was raised in New Jersey, where her father worked as a chemical engineer and her mother was a homemaker.

She studied biology at Tufts University and then moved to New York, where she quickly became involved with a group of prominent Minimalist and post- Minimalist artists including Carl Andre, Sol Lewitt, Eva Hesse, Joan Jonas and Richard Serra. (She collaborated with Mr. Serra in 1974 on “Boomerang,” in which he videotaped her listening to her own voice echoing back into a pair of headphones after a time lag, as she described the disorienting experience.)

She and Smithson had bought a small piece of land in Utah, and in 1974 she bought more: 40 acres for $1,600 in the Great Basin Desert, where she set about building “Sun Tunnels.” As she wrote later, installing the culverts — each weighing 22 tons — and documenting the process, required the help of “2 engineers, 1 astrophysicist, 1 astronomer, 1 surveyor and his assistant, 1 road grader, 2 dump truck operators, 1 carpenter, 3 ditch diggers, 1 concrete mixing truck operator, 1 concrete foreman, 10 concrete pipe company workers, 2 core- drillers, 4 truck drivers, 1 crane operator, 1 rigger, 2 cameramen, 2 soundmen, 1 helicopter pilot, and 4 photography lab workers.”

“In making the arrangements and contracting out the work,” she wrote, “I became more extended into the world than I’ve ever been before.”

Over the years, the work has attracted a variety of pilgrims: art lovers who camp out to see the sunrise perfectly aligned with the tunnels at solstice; latter- day pagans who come for the same reason; Burning Man-type celebrants who used the tunnels as a gathering place; hunters who use them for shooting practice. Occasionally, Ms. Holt would drive back to the site and invite observers to meet her for a free-form talk and viewing experience.

The first retrospective of her work, “Nancy Holt: Sightlines,” opened in 2010 at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University and traveled to several other venues in the United States and Europe. In a public talk in Santa Fe, N.M., during the run of the retrospective, she described the struggle of pursuing an art career largely out of doors, and decidedly on her own terms.

“It was painful, because I had no product,” she said. “And especially a woman in the art world at that time, you had to have something to show.” She added: “I was just being. I was emphasizing being over becoming. And in the art world it’s a hard stance.”

A version of this article appears in print on February 12, 2014, on page A25 of the New York edition with the headline: Nancy Holt, Outdoor Artist, Dies at 75.

From NYT, source 

(Photos are Sun Tunnels, 1976 (1 & 2); Rock Rings, 1977-78; Holes of Light 1973)   

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When I first learned about this letter from Letters Live this spring, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it. I was being tortured deeply by the very same problem for quite some time by then and it felt like a wish had just been granted, for if only I could just find some advice about feeling… stuck creatively and in process. And how does one remedy it? I did not not even know where to go looking for an answer anymore until I heard about this exchange between Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse.

I read the letter of course, and it was so intriguing that I wished to hear it being read just so that I could perhaps root it with the magic of someone giving it a voice. In all honesty, when I hit ‘play’ I had no preconceived notions of what to expect as a performance. I just wanted it to finally come alive. Benedict’s reading has left an indelible mark within me. He brings so much of power to the letter that I think the message has been ingrained very effectively.  

Thank you, Letters Live, for releasing this recording. I have enjoyed this so much for its wisdom.

May 17: Catch the premiere of Eva Hesse, a documentary portrait of the artist rendered through archival footage, recently uncovered still imagery, and intimate shots of Hesse’s extraordinary art. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion about the artist’s work and legacy in contemporary art.

Eva Hesse in front of Expanded Expansion, 1969. Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials (May 19-July 6, 1969). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Photograph: Frances Mulhall Achiles Library, Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.

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Benedict’s reading of a letter from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse for Letters Live. There’s lots of swearing Tumblr, so if you’re offended by language, esp by the C-word, do not watch. P.s this is full of cock wombling, crotch-sniffing, ball-lickinly, donkey-spanking, c***ing fucknuggety acting goodness. 

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“Try to do some BAD work — the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell — you are not responsible for the world — you are only responsible for your work — so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working — then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO.”

~Benedict at Letters Live: Sol Lewitt to Eva Hesse ~
/pt. 2/