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Video transcript

we're in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and we're looking at late Eva hatha this is from 1970 and like so much of her sculpture it's simply untitled it's rope hung in the corner of the room different sizes and textures hung from the ceiling almost like a hammock when this sculpture was made right before HESA died she was only 34 years old it was in 1970 this sculpture was still hanging in her studio so part of what this work is about is the way that this can be hung in different ways has left that open so we have rope that she's handled in all kinds of different ways unraveled it right it remains braided in certain areas and then it's been unraveled the Rope has been treated obviously it's not raw Roe right it's been dipped in latex which is a material she used quite often and the latex has this or wild quality it's almost flesh like slightly translucent and a little bit rubbery but you know the rope is of course completely flexible malleable but with the latex coating it becomes a little stiffer the rope does maintain some of its original turn and arabesque and arcing on the other hand we can reorganize it and that seems to me to be very much a part of the intention of the sculpture so it exists both physically in a sense conceptually the sculpture has its original organization and then it can be reformed to some extent though not entirely which is a really radical idea it seems to me the whole idea of art often is that artists intention realized in the work of art and that sense of self-expression and as soon as someone else can come in and hang it slightly differently or do something else differently to it it seems to me that that's a radical break with the way that we conceptualize what a work of art is think about the art that was being made at this time the art that she was responding to the people that she was spending her time with people like Donald Judd and others you have a kind of intentionality is absolute in a kind of very fixed form heavily machined industrial materials that can't be changed in any way it's hard not to tie some things that we see here back to the fact that she's a woman that she makes something that's more malleable if we think about coming after abstract expressionism maybe there's some anti-heroic movement against the heroism of Jackson Pollock who's certainly quoted here in some phrase it's a very direct way absolutely so that's really interesting clearly the art history criticism written about herself gives her that kind of intentionality she is opening up these issues of what it means to be a woman and an artist in a intensely male environment in the art world in New York in the 1960s and 1970s this will have an enormous impact on later artists and thinking about Kiki Smith and others she's really brilliant in the way that she has found a means to represent the physical of the body in a way that is not literal but metaphoric and visceral it has a feeling almost as being intestines that have been taken out of the body and I don't know handled and manipulated there's something that feels like innards here that I think speaks to what will be a real engagement on the part of feminist artists in the 1970s with body for all its draping and it's recalling of Jackson Pollock strips we have a really complicated work it's really fascinating visual web you