A Sceptical Look at Media Perceptions of Tattooing in the West

Dr Matt Lodder

Tuesday, November 1 2011 at 7:30PM

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38 Westgate Street
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

Dr Matt Lodder

What's the talk about?

 As an opening line for an article in a popular newspaper about tattoos, the suggestion that "tattoos are not just for sailors anymore" is a familiar one. Indeed, it often feels as if the same sentiment graces every article about tattooing in the mainstream press: Tattooing, we've been told again and again recently, is coming of age - finally coming out of the murky shadows of the deviant underworld to leave its mark on the most well-heeled. Tattoos are now to be seen on catwalks, on trading floors and around the chicest tables.

The hacks who churn out these stories might be surprised to learn,then, that the popular media has been reporting the arrival of tattooing in high society for nearly one hundred years.

In a talk drawing on his doctoral thesis, Matt will be presenting a sceptical look at media perceptions of tattooing in recent decades, and present an alternative way of looking at, and thinking about tattoos: as art objects in their own right.

Dr Matt Lodder is an academic art historian, based in London. His work is concerned with the artistic status of body art and body modification practices, including tattooing, body piercing and cosmetic surgery, applying art-theoretical and art-historical methodologies to the study of the modified body specifically as an art object rather than a site for psychological, psychiatric, anthropological or ethnographic interest.

He has acted as a contributor and expert consultant for various radio and television projects on body art and body modification, including BBC's 'Coast', on BBC Radio 5, BBC Radio Sheffield, on Channel 4 and on Australia's Triple J, and is currently working on a book which presents an art historical survey of tattooing from the 16th century to the present day.

Entry is free, but a small donation is always welcomed. 

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