Stories on the Skin: 'Academic Ink'

by FAU College of Arts and Letters | Friday, Mar 07, 2014
Stories on the Skin: 'Academic Ink'

Florida Atlantic University will present a program of art and performances centered around the theme of tattoo culture on Friday, March 28 at 5 p.m. in the University Theatre, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. The event will feature a keynote address by noted scholar Margot Mifflin with the lecture, "Art, Sex and Power: A Short History of Tattooed Women."

There also will be a performance by concert pianist Heather Coltman, dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, and dance, music and theater pieces around tattoo themes presented by faculty members Clarence Brooks, Jamie Cunningham and Susan Cato. An exhibition of photographs featuring FAU faculty and staff, and works of art considering the lived experience of tattoo will be on display.  

Mifflin will discuss topics presented in her acclaimed book, Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo. Mifflin is an author and associate professor in the English department of Lehman College of the City University of New York (CUNY). She writes about women, art, and contemporary culture. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and "ARTnews," and she has appeared in MSNBC's documentary "Women and Tattoo" (2001) and CNN's "Women of the Ink" (1998). She also was recently interviewed on "The Katie Couric Show."

The event is presented by the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts and Karen Leader, Ph.D., of FAU's Department of Visual Arts and Art History. The Jaffe Center and Leader launched the long-term project in 2010 to engage FAU's diverse population in an exploration of the social, cultural and artistic phenomenon of tattooing, specifically drawing out the relationship between the images and the complex histories and narratives associated with them.

Since the project's inception, more than 2,000 tattooed and non-tattooed members of the FAU community have completed a survey or submitted a story about tattoos, the team has photographed and interviewed hundreds of individuals, and produced art exhibitions, live performances and several films including a feature documentary.

Aspects of this project have been generously supported by the Department of Visual Arts and Art History, the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, Florida Atlantic University Libraries, the Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

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