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Field Museum Will Show Some Skin With Tattoo Exhibit This Fall

By Gwendolyn Purdom in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 19, 2016 9:00PM

Photo: Thomas Duval © musée du quai Branly

Your fruitless attempts to convince your parents that your body ink should be considered art will finally get some validation this fall when The Field Museum unveils its latest special exhibition, appropriately titled Tattoo. The exhibit will explore tattooing as an art form and its remarkable spread around the world.

Through historic artifacts and modern designs tattooed on silicone models of the human body, Tattoo traces human body marking from the ancient Egyptians' interest in ink to Thomas Edison's patent on a nineteenth-century "puncturing pen," to a 98-year-old modern-day tattoo artist who still practices traditional Filipino methods. It will be the first time the exhibit, initially produced by the musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris, is displayed in the United States. In addition to a global perspective of tattooing, museum officials say the exhibit will also feature some elements that examine the tattoo artistic community in Chicago.

“Tattoos are a way to make what’s inside of you, your experience and your beliefs, manifest on your skin," exhibition project manager Janet Wong said in a press release. "It’s powerful to encounter that.”

Tattoo opens at the Field Museum on Oct. 21 and runs through April 30, 2017.