On October 28th, 2013, Carla Zimmerman, Head of Monographs & Cataloging at the Rutgers Universities Libraries forwarded me a discussion from the "SAA Metadata & Digital Object Roundtable Discussion List" on the topic of how an archivist might collect or preserve the records of body tattoos.
As I read the discussion I began thinking about the Art of the Tattoo. I questioned if a tattoo was considered public art, private art, or both, and who owns the copyright of a tattoo? I began thinking about how could the Rutgers University Art Library explore this topic and engage the greater Rutgers community? In January of 2014 I began working with Ridhi Kalra, Undergraduate, School of Arts & Sciences, and Bilge Olgun, Senior, School of Arts & Sciences, Co-Curators of the Exhibition the Art of the Tattoo. Since the initial call for tattoos sent out to the Rutgers community on February 17th, 2014, I have been asked to show my tattoos, I’ve experienced tattoo confessionals, and even been told a few tattoo stories I can’t share with others.
Kalra and Olgun, the Co-Curators of the Art of the Tattoo presented an eclectic mix of materials including books, scholarly articles, celebrity tattoos, the latest wave in Indonesian tattooing, and what happens when a tattoo experience goes wrong. These materials were on view in the Art Library Exhibition cases located at 71 Hamilton Street, on the Vorhees Mall.
On March 18th a collection of images of tattoos crowdsourced from the Rutgers Community were on display until Saturday March 29th.