A New Kind of Art?

Discussion
Apr 30, 2013
by: suanic

In Michael Kimmelman's essay, "ART REVIEW; Tattoo Moves From Fringes To Fashion. But Is It Art?," from The New York Times, the author explains the origins of tattoos, how it has developed as art, and how has it become popular today.

When we consider the issue of tattoos, some might wonder: why has it become such a trend? Michael Kimmelman’s article addresses this question because he explains how it led up to its popularity and gives his opinion on whether or not it is art.

“But perhaps above all what has made tattoos interesting to the art world is its folk or outsider status. With all the self-taught art, prison art and art of the insane that has been shown and talked about in art circles lately, it was not surprising that attention would turn to tattoos next. They raise the same issues of social marginality, fetishism and anti-establishmentarianism.”

This is basically saying that tattoos have become an interest because with all the different kinds of art that it is seen nowadays, tattoos would eventually be seen as one of them. Tattoos bring up issues of social marginality (the status of being part insider and at the same time part outsider in a society or social group), fetishism (blind devotion AND/OR the use of some object, or part of the body, as a stimulus in the course of obtaining sexual gratification), and anti-establishmentarianism (a policy or attitude that views a nation's power structure as corrupt, repressive, exploitive, etc.).

Another point Kimmelman makes in his article is: "Which still leaves unanswered the question, why do so many people now get them? Is it just dumb, blinkered youth? Not just. Simply attributing tattoos to fashion is too easy, because fashion is about change and tattoos don't go away." This is reasonable because he explains how tattoos are not gotten and should be considered as part of fashion because fashion always changes over time, whereas tattoos are made as permanent reminders in one’s skin and exceed fashion.

A third point addressed by Kimmelman is: "And in the end, no matter how popular they have become, no matter how much they have been assimilated and sanitized by fashion and the art world, tattoos are still startling. Which is the bottom line. By now virtually no visual art form has the power truly to startle. But tattoos, not the drawings of them, but the actual things, can. They're genuinely transgressive, and every generation wants to redefine beauty by adopting what seems transgressive to the previous generation. Are tattoos beautiful? Well, to paraphrase the old saying, a tattoo is only skin deep." This is significant, because he gave his own opinion on how he feels about tattoos being seen as art, stating that they violate society and should not be the main thing that defines someone as beautiful or beauty of any kind.

What we can appreciate about this writer's work is that he gave readers information on this topic before giving his overall opinion on it. We can look forward to seeing what he writes next, because it is clear that when he gives an opinion on a discussion an issue he is very aware of what he is writing about and does his research.

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/09/15/arts/art-review-tattoo-moves-from-frin...

Comments

suanic, I think this is very

Submitted by gabisavchuk on Tue, 2013-05-07 15:01.

suanic,

I think this is very interesting, because so many people are so firmly against tattoos but they don't seem to have any solid points as to why they believe that. I think tattoos can definitely be art, but I would have to say that the majority of them are not well thought out designs. Tattoos, as well as art, have to have a meaning - it has to be attempting to say something through the medium to the viewers. I think the process of coming up with a specific design to label yourself with can be extremely meaningful, but a simple spur-of-the-moment design is simply not. I don't really agree that it is about anti-establishment, but I think the author's other two points are valid.

Keep a writin'!

Suanic

Submitted by JWilkerson on Tue, 2013-05-07 15:06.

Suanic-
I find your post to be very intriguing. I am a firm advocate of tattoos and am currently in the process of finding myself a tattoo artist. I am going to be having an inspirational biblical quote imprinted on my chest and believe that tattoos express a person without having to explain themselves with words. Thank you for the discussion, and I look forward to reading more of your posts and comments.

Nice Job!

Submitted by amagom on Mon, 2013-05-13 16:24.

Dear Nicole,

I liked your post “A New Kind of Art?” because it provided a lot of information, and you made really great points. It was very interesting, and I learned from it. I was wondering why do people like tattoos so much, and why if it’s really an art? I think your post helped me a lot.

Something you said that I liked was “This is reasonable because he explains how tattoos are not gotten and should be considered as part of fashion because fashion always changes over time, whereas tattoos are made as permanent reminders in one’s skin and exceed fashion.” You analyzed the quote which is amazing because it explains what the author says perfectly. I disagree with the author because not everyone thinks like that. Many people get tattoos only to do the same thing as other, and that is not right because it is a permanent mark; someone might regret that.

Something I also enjoyed was “This is significant, because he gave his own opinion on how he feels about tattoos being seen as art, stating that they violate society and should not be the main thing that defines someone as beautiful or beauty of any kind.” I don’t think a tattoo makes someone look ugly or beautiful, but I do think it’s something that says a lot about someone. If someone wants to get a tattoo, they should really think about it; it should be something that really means a lot.

I really enjoyed your post because I like reading what people think about a certain subject. You made excellent points and did a nice job writing this post. I would like to keep reading more of your posts because they are very good.