When Does a Tattoo Become Art?

February 2, 2017
If art’s purpose is to challenge viewers—to make a statement or alter one’s perceptions—then can’t a tattoo be considered art, too? Like most hotly debated issues, the answer is subjective, and changes depending on who you’re talking to. According to Cristian Petru Panaite, assistant curator of exhibitions at the New York Historical Society, the answer is simple. If a person intends for their tattoos to be art, then they are. Panaite recently curated Tattooed New York, a new exhibition that examines the rise of tattoo culture in New York City from its beginnings on the Bowery in the ’20s and ’30s to today. The show features over 250 works that fill in a rich history long forgotten by the textbooks. New York’s tattoo history has been passed around orally by “land pirates” of the trade, he says, but has rarely been brought together in this way. Read more…
Creative: Tronvig Group