Tattoo: An Art History with Dr Matt Lodder

Paired with Navy Strength Rum


Jun 6th 2017 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Bar opens at 6:30pm
Lecture: 7:00pm - 8:30pm followed by Q&A

Despite its rich visual culture and aesthetic traditions, there has never before been an art history of the tattoo. Beginning by explaining the origins of the art form - with Captain Cook 'discovering' the tattooing practices of Polynesians - Tattoo: An Art History then traces the history of tattooing as a professional artistic practice in Britain from 1870, when the first professional tattoo studio opened, to the present day. In this enthralling book, body art and modification expert Matt Lodder establishes a chronological survey of an oft-misunderstood and much mythologised mode of art making from the sumptuous, gilded artisanal studios of Victorian London, via the bawdy dockside spaces of the 1950s, through to the seemingly ubiquitous tattoo culture of the twenty-first century.

Lodder reveals how tastes and technologies have affected the type of images being tattooed; how innovations in both style and method percolated within, to and from Britain; who the most important and influential tattoo artists were and how, despite common misunderstandings to the contrary, tattooing has always been a permanent fixture of the visual culture of Britain's entire social spectrum - popular amongst sailors, aristocratic ladies and even kings.

Dr Matt Lodder: Matt completed his PhD in 2010, having submitted a thesis entitled Body Art: Body Modification as Artistic Practice. Before his current role at the University of Essex, Lodder taught contemporary art and theory at the Universities of Reading and Birmingham. His current research is principally concerned with the history of Western tattooing, and the artistic status of body art and body modification practices.

He has lectured on topics including body modification practices, tattoos and tattooing; contemporary performance art; deconstructivist architecture; lowbrow and outsider art; pop surrealism; digital and internet art; art & science; and Deleuzean approaches to art.