1987

Ed Gein Gloves

The Ed Gein Gloves were made for my exhibition ‘In Memory of Ed Gein, America’s Most Bizarre Murderer’ at Ruimte Morguen, in Antwerp 1987. The title of the exhibition refers to Robert H. Gollmar’s collector’s item book (1981) on Ed Gein.

Edward (Ed) Theodore Gein (1906 - 1984) was a legendary American killer and grave robber. Gein was arrested in 1957 for the murder of Bernice Worden, after which his house was searched and several bodies were found. Gein maintained that he merely ‘decorated’ himself and his house, and did not engage in necrophilia or cannibalism. Many items were found including: a female body hanging upside down (the head, anus and vagina had been removed and there was a cut in the chest from the vagina to the neck), two shinbones, four human noses, a drum made of women’s skin, bowls made of skulls, nine masks made of real human skin ten female heads whose tops had been sawn off, a shoebox containing nine tanned vaginas including his mother’s, a hanging human head, two shrunken heads, two skulls on his bed, two lips hanging from a rope and the heart of one of his victims. Police suspected him of more murders, as the nine tanned vaginas could not be linked to buried corpses, but could not prove anything else.

Several horror stories and films have been based on Gein’s deeds, such as Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Hills have Eyes, Manhunter and The Silence of the Lambs. For the exhibition in Antwerp, I took inspiration from the utensils made by Ed Gein, realising, among other things, these latex gloves modelled on his own hands.

These most recent exhibited gloves are a reconstructed version from 2014 after the rubber of the original gloves disintegrated. They were re-created because a photo of the original gloves would be on the cover of the catalogue of the Crime in Art exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow, in Kraków, 2014.

The ‘Ed Gein Gloves’ are a big hit on various internet blogs and forums where the image of the work is invariably dismissed as Ed Gein’s ‘real’ gloves. In 1996, Michael Farin published A Quiet Man’, a comprehensive study of the derivative books, films and miscellaneous of the Ed Gein case. It also depicts my Ed Gein Gloves.


Latex rubber, 23cm x 15cm x 1cm.
Property of the artist.


Shown at:
  • In Memory of Ed Gein in Ruimte Morguen, Antwerpen, Belgium, 1987.
  • Wahrheit und Dichtung in Galerie Maerz, Köln, Germany, 1989.
  • Crime in Art in Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, Kraków, Poland, 2014.
  • The Collector in S&S Galerie, Borgerhout, Belgium, 2015.
  • Fantastic Voyage through the Body of an Artist in Kiosk, Gent, Belgium, 2024.
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