Hang Up (1966) by Eva Hesse

Hang Up - Eva Hesse - 1966

Artwork Information

TitleHang Up
ArtistEva Hesse
Date1966
Mediummixed media
Dimensions182.9 x 213.4 x 198.1 cm
Art MovementConceptual Art
Current LocationArt Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, US

About Hang Up

The artwork titled “Hang Up” by Eva Hesse, created in 1966, is a conceptual art installation crafted with mixed media. Its dimensions are 182.9 cm in height, 213.4 cm in width, and 198.1 cm in depth. This significant piece is housed at the Art Institute of Chicago, located in Chicago, IL, USA, and is recognized within the genre of installation art.

The artwork presents a stark, minimalist aesthetic, central to the conceptual movement that Hesse was a part of. It consists of a large, rectangular frame or stretcher, similar to what one might use as a support for a canvas. The frame itself, however, is bereft of any canvas or traditional pictorial element, asserting its objecthood rather than being a window into a pictorial space. A single cord is attached to the upper corner of this frame, draping down and then looping up to create a conspicuously long, protruding line that curves out into the gallery space and back toward the floor.

This single cord, which appears to be coated in gray cloth material, draws the eye along its length, emphasizing the physical space it occupies—suggesting both connection and disconnection, as the cord hangs, unused and unconnected to any obvious device or outlet. The artwork’s title, “Hang Up,” can be seen as a wry comment on the piece itself—an actual “hang-up” in the physical sense—and may also hint at psychological hang-ups, an emotional or intellectual entrapment that both viewer and artist may encounter.

Hesse’s work challenges the traditional notions of what constitutes a work of art and how it interacts with its environment, engaging with themes of absence and presence, and the relationship of object and space. Through its simplicity and open-ended interpretation, “Hang Up” becomes a powerful embodiment of the conceptual art movement’s exploration of ideas over purely aesthetic concerns.

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