• Eva Hesse: Test Pieces, 1967–69; black wax; 1¼ x 2½ x 1½ in.; BAMPFA, gift of Mrs. Helen Charash.

  • Eva Hesse: Test Piece, 1967–69; filled natural rubber over metal screen, with natural rubber and metal pins; 5 x 3½ x 1 in.; BAMPFA, gift of Mrs. Helen Charash.

Tea Time Thursday: Claire Frost on Eva Hesse’s Test Pieces

Open to Curator’s Circle members at the $1,000 level and above

Curatorial Assistant Claire Frost will present “It Is Something, It Is Nothing”: Eva Hesse’s Test Pieces And Conceptual Art


BAMPFA has organized or presented three significant exhibitions of Eva Hesse's work since 1973. Most recently, BAMPFA’s 2011 exhibition Eva Hesse: Studiowork emphasized the importance of the artist’s small sculptures called “test pieces” and their role in her material experimentation. This approach expanded the understanding of Hesse’s practice in relation to industrial production, materials, and art history. Building on the theme of indeterminacy, Curatorial Assistant Claire Frost will consider these objects, as well as Hesse’s broader practice, in relation to another strength of the BAMPFA collection: conceptual art. Hesse is known as an innovative postminimalist artist whose work was interpreted as emotional and bodily, due to both the quality of her sculptures and the traumatic elements of her biography. Viewing Hesse’s work through the lens of Conceptual art provides distance from the occasionally problematic reliance on biography and broadens our readings of what constitutes conceptual art, all while drawing stronger connections within BAMPFA’s impressive collection.

Curatorial Assistant Claire Frost has worked in the Bay Area since 2011, including positions at both the Contemporary Jewish Museum and ArtSpan. She earned a master’s degree in modern and contemporary art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where her studies focused on the intersection of identity and historiography and the documentation of artists’ communities. This research allowed her to blend an interest in archival materials with theories of information distribution and artistic practice and process. She is the cofounder and co-curator of the curatorial collective COLLABO, and she recently started an eponymous art space in her San Francisco apartment.

This is the sixth installment of our biweekly online conversation series for Curator’s Circle members, a collection of online events that offer insights from and Q&A’s with our curators. Please join us online at 4 PM every other Thursday for these intimate conversations. 

This event is open to Curator’s Circle members at the $1,000 level and above. Space is limited, and reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Registered participants will receive an email with a secure event link on July 7. 

Please contact Director of Special Events Masha Berek at mberek@berkeley.edu for more information or to register.