UPDATE: October 12th at 7:00 The LGBT Community Center 208 West 13th Street, NYC www.gaycenter.org
In conjunction with his exhibition Uncle Lige's Sword, Eric Rhein will give a talk and slide presentation discussing the evolution of his artwork and
how it has corresponded with his twenty-year experience of living with
HIV/AIDS. Included will be reflections on the influence of his Uncle
Lige Clarke, a noted gay rights pioneer of the 1960's and early
1970's. The activist nature of the work of other artists, such as
Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, Frank Moore & David Woinarowicz,
who are included in Rhein's AIDS Memorial The Leaf Project, will also be discussed.
As observed by noted AIDS activist and art historian, Robert Atkins: Art
has always played a role in coming to terms with collective tragedy,
and the role of the artist has frequently been to bear witness. Surely
an art of memory like Eric Rhein's can help harmonize our views by
suggesting that honoring the past is one way to live more fully in the
Eric Rhein Uncle Lige's Sword
The LGBT Center 208 West 13th Street, NYC September 25 - November 3, 2006
An art exhibition commemorating the ten year anniversary of the inclusion of protease inhibitors in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center presents an exhibition of Eric Rhein's artwork to commemorate the ten year anniversary of the inclusion of protease inhibitors in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. Rhein's wire drawings and constructions from the decade reflect the transformation that he has experienced as a long-term survivor from a concentration on AIDS-specific issues to a broader reflection on humanity and the natural world.
With the precision of a jeweler, Rhein creates delicate constructions from wire, paper, and found objects, weaving personal stories and experiences into intricate patterns. Using nature as metaphor, Rhein evokes a transcendental universe and celebrates the resilient potential of the body and spirit. Integrating leaves, birds, animals, and human figures, he explores the delicate and powerful connections among humans, nature, and the spiritual world, and suggests the metamorphoses inherent in relationships and experiences. Sculptures, which incorporate pages from medical textbooks, suggest illuminated manuscripts in three dimensional form, and draw a correlation between the AIDS epidemic and the Black Plague of the Middle Ages.
Works from The Leaf Project, which Rhein conceived in 1996 to pay tribute to friends who had died of complications from AIDS, anchor the exhibition with recognition of the magnitude of loss during the height of the epidemic.
With the title Uncle Lige's Sword, Rhein dedicates this exhibition to the memory of his uncle Lige (Elijah) Clarke, a pioneer, along with his lover Jack Nichols, in the Gay Rights movement of the late 1960s through the early 70s. The sword is used as a metaphor for Clarke's courage and indomitable spirit. Rhein draws a correlation between Clarke's crusade for gay rights and his own activism by including themes about HIV and AIDS in his body of work.
Based in Manhattan, Eric Rhein has been exhibiting his sculptures and wire drawings for over 20 years in New York, elsewhere in the U.S., and in London, Paris, Munich, Stockholm, and Tokyo. Publications that have reviewed and/or reproduced his artwork include Art in America, Interview, the New York Times, Village Voice, Metrosource, POZ, the James White Review, Dutch Elle, and Vanity Fair. Rhein holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. He has received grants from the Pollock/Krasner Foundation, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb, and Art Matters.