SPAH Seminar Series Week 9: Dr Matt Lodder

'Was Picasso a Tattoo Artist?' An extract from Painted People (2022)

Part of the SPAH Seminar Series, Matt Lodder gives a talk on 'Was Picasso a Tattoo Artist?' An extract from Painted People (2022)

In this talk, Dr Matt Lodder will read an abridged extract from his new book Painted People: Humanity in 21 Tattoos (William Collins, 2022). The chapter spins a conspiracy theory ripped from the Icelandic headlines in the 1950s, at the height of Cold War tensions, to ask questions including ‘Was Picasso a tattoo artist?’, ‘Did the CIA plant a false but plausible story about fascist-sympathising art collectors in Paris in order to spook Icelandic centrists into rejecting the advances of the USSR?’,  ‘Did a communist tattoo spark an international beef boycott?’ and, ultimately, the book’s biggest question: ‘What can an art-historical approach to tattooing reveal about history, culture and politics?’.

About the speaker:
Dr Matt Lodder is a Senior Lecturer in Art History and Theory, and Director of American Studies at the University of Essex. He teaches European, American and Japanese art, architecture, visual culture and theory from the late 19th century to the present, including modern and contemporary art post-1945, digital and "new media" art, and the intersections between art & politics. His research primarily concerns the application of art-historical methods to history of Western tattooing from the 17th century to the present day, with a principal focus on the professional era from the 1880s onwards. His expertise also extends to wider histories of body modification practices in the West, including tongue splitting, implants, and other procedures. He has also recently published work on feminist debates in pornography, and on the intersections of consent, culture and the law in the context of 1970s and '80s queer subcultures.

If you cannot attend in person, please email spahpg@essex.ac.uk for the Zoom link.

SPAH Seminar Series Week 9: Dr Matt Lodder