Aside from Skin & Bones, the tattoo show exploring body marking in the life of the American Sailor I worked on, there are a few other wonderful tattoo exhibitions open at the moment. It’s a great time for the art, with the Sailor Jerry film having just been released and a number of good books in the works. In that the scholarship is strengthening and the push toward collecting the stories of many of the living greats is building.
Freaks & Flash brings to life the roots of Western Tattooing through vintage flash and circus banners. Focus in on midwestern artists and collections, but the scope is nonetheless international. Some major figures of tattoo history are well represented – the legendary Englishman George Burchett, Milwaukee’s Armund Dietzel, and the inventor of the tattoo machine Samuel O’Reilly, to name a few. Co-curated by Anna Friedman-Herlihy and Jan Petry, the exhbition presents many fine examples of tattoo history to the public for the first time.
Above is a piece of flash by Sailor Bill Rodgers. Hit the jump to see work by Burchett and O’Reilly.