Friday, February 9, 2018

THE TATTOO EXHIBIT AT LA'S NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

THE TATTOO I'D GET IF I WERE GOING TO GET A TATTOO.

This week's arts and culture column begins like this:

For all you ink aficionados, through April 15 the Natural History Museum is featuring a special exhibit: “Tattoo.”

Tattoo culture has been 5,000 years in the making. Since the 20th century, L.A. has formed a significant part of it.

“Before it becomes a mark,” the museum notes, “a tattoo is process. Its results can be a sign of identity, a rite of passage, a type of protection, a form of medicine, a memory made visible, or a piece of art to be collected and worn on that most intimate of canvases, the human skin.”

The exhibit, which costs 11 bucks in addition to the entrance fee, features commentary on the wide and varied history of tattoo, vintage photos, flash sheets of pinup girls, dragons and Catholic iconography, and videos.

Silicone arms, tattooed in various styles and backlit like medieval manuscripts, are displayed throughout in glass vitrines. There are tribal designs; a giant, writhing octopus by Kari Barba (b. 1960), whose Long Beach shop occupies the site of the legendary Bert Grimm’s World Famous Tattoo; and my own personal favorite, a style honed by Montreal tattoo artist Yann Black (b. 1973) that he describes as “somewhere between German Expressionism and Russian Constructivism.”


READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE. 

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing about tattoos in a Christian media in such an eye-opening, understanding, tolerant way. I'm far from Los Angeles, but if I were there, I would absolutely want to go and see this exhibition.

    And generally, Heather, thank you for all your books, blog posts, your brave, humble, inspiring way of sharing yourself to us. I'm a fortysomething working mother reading your words in the middle of snow in Finland, and I'm so grateful to God that you exist and that you write - your writing really is a ray of light in my life!

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    1. How lovely to know that I have a reader in Finland, as you say far away from Los Angeles...that my work has reached and touched you, a fortysomething working mother, means so much. The seed takes root in darkness...we don't know how or when...but every once in a while we are given to know that it HAS at least taken root in some small way. Your working and raising a kid or kids in turn bears fruit in me. Here's to a rich and fruitful Lent for all--

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