Intuit is pleased to present Freaks & Flash, featuring artwork from the heyday of tattooing as a Western folk art. Tattoo flash (the design drawings for tattoos) will be combined with sideshow banners depicting tattooed performers and acetate stencils used for transferring tattoo designs on to the skin. From the early days of tattoo shops at the turn of the twentieth century until the beginnings of the tattoo “Renaissance” in the late 1960s and early 1970s, tattooing reflected a wide range of styles and motifs from the mundane to the extraordinary. From the work of “scratchers” to those who bridged the boundary between folk and fine art, the exhibit will offer a glimpse into the multi-faceted history of inscriptions on human skin through the artifacts left behind.
Although the focus will be on Midwestern collections and collectors, the works displayed will reflect an international perspective. The flash and acetate portion of the exhibit will feature a wide range of artists. Many of the pieces have not been on public display since they were taken down from the walls of the shops in which they originally resided. Artists with long Chicago or Midwestern careers will be prominently featured including Amund Dietzel, Cliff Raven, Milton Zeis,Tatts Thomas, Stoney St. Clair, W R King, Doc King, Ralph Johnstone, Sailor Bill Rogers, Buddy McFall, and Bert Grimm. Rare early pieces include some by Samuel O’Reilly, George Burchett, Gus Wagner, and Henry Biehler. The exhibit will be rounded out with a variety of other artists working across America and beyond including Sailor Jerry, Leroy Minugh, Ole Hansen, Joe Lieber, Rosie Camanga, Dominic Chance, Joseph Darpel, Jimmy Grecco, Dainty Dotty, Jack Tryon, Ed Smith, Cap Coleman, and J F Barber.