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New York Historical Society Takes a Closer Look at the History of Tattooing

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New York Historical Society Exhibit on Tattooing
Ace Harlyn, Charlie Wagner tattooing Millie Hull, 1939; oil on canvas (Collection of Brad Fink, Daredevil Tattoo NYC/New York Historical Society)

 

The New York Historical Society has gotten some ink done. Through April 30, the society will be hosting an exhibit exploring more than 300 years of tattoo culture in New York.

The exhibit, entitled Tattooed New York, features more than 250 works, ranging from the 1700s to present day, and includes subject-matter such as Native American body art; sideshow culture; and the citywide 1961 ban, which drove tattooing underground for 30 years.

“We are proud to present Tattooed New York and offer our visitors an immersive look into the little-known history of modern tattooing,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New York Historical Society in a press release. “At the convergence of history and pop culture, the exhibition will track the evolution of this fascinating form of self-expression and the city’s influence on the phenomenon.”

Take a look at some images from the exhibit below.

Thomas Edison Electric pen, 1876 Nickel-plated flywheel, cast iron, steel stylus, and electric motor Collection of Brad Fink, Daredevil Tattoo NYC
Thomas Edison’s Electric pen from 1876 (Collection of Brad Fink, Daredevil Tattoo NYC)
New York tattoo artist Michelle Myles American traditional backpiece on model Evan Hall (Dale May/New York Historical Society)
New York tattoo artist Michelle Myles American traditional backpiece on model Evan Hall (Dale May/New York Historical Society)
New York Historical Society Tattooing Exhibit
Bob Wicks, Flash sheet No. 36, ca. 1930; pen and watercolor on art board (Collection of Ohio Tattoo Museum/New York Historical Society)
New York Historical Society Exhibit on Tattooing
Irving Herzberg, Tattoo shop of ‘Coney Island Freddie,’ just prior to New York City’s ban on tattooing, 1961; digital print (Brooklyn Public Library/New York Historical Society)
New York Historical Society Exhibit on Tattooing
John Simon after John Verelst, Sa Ga Yeath Qua Pieth Tow, King of the Maquas, 1710; Mezzotint
(New York Historical Society Library)
New York Historical Society Tattooing Exhibit
Charles Eisenmann, Nora Hildebrandt, ca. 1880; albumen photograph (Collection of Adam Woodward/New York Historical Society)

 

For more on the exhibit, click here.

—RealClearLife Staff