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Rhein Stones

In grade school, Eric Rhein designed his own tombstone; at fourteen, he was doing small figures in coffins; and by his early twenties, he'd moved on to heaven, with ethereal winged ceiling sculptures. Today, Rhein, the twenty-eight-year-old Manhattan jeweler-cum-sculptor whose work is on display at both N.Y.C.'s Artists Space and L.A.'s Sculpture to Wear, specializes in ornately embellished headless torsos which, he says, portray, " the ascension of the spirit and the residue that's left behind." To the less godly, his gilt-and-brocade creations—fashioned from fabric and hardware he's scavenged from flea markets and warehouses around the globe—will more likely suggest the worldly courtiers of the Renaissance. But Rhein himself (who's also designed jewelry for soul mate Romeo Gigli, fashion's leading proponent of pre-industrial splendor) sees them as timeless cultural crossbreeds, resonant with parallels to everyone from Botticelli to Alexander Calder.

Ben Brantley
Vanity Fair
November 1989

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