For any tattoo lover, having their chosen design inked onto their skin would automatically be considered art. For others, not so much. Tattoos have always tread that line of public opinion between triumphant and tacky, however, in honour of this year’s NY Art Book Fair, the Gagosian have commissioned six artists, including Devendra Banhart, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Douglas Gordon, Kim Gordon, Max Hooper Schneider and Richard Wright, to create bespoke flash designs that will be tattooed onto a handful of fair goers by tattoo artists from Brooklyn's Flyrite Tattoo.
Mixing high-end names with low brow culture, all designs appear to keep within the parameters of the typical flash book –pandrogynous art radical P-Orridge has illustrated a barking dog, Gordon has sketched what looks like a chair with the initials D.O and up-and-coming LA artist Max Hooper Schneider has tapped into the outline of a pinup model’s body.
“The instructions for the artists were pretty simple: I asked them to put their own spin on the flash art tradition,” Ben Lee Ritchie Handler from the Gagosian told us over email. “We worked with Fernando Lions and Gillian Goldstein of Flyrite Tattoo to be sure everything could be completed in a flash – well, an hour or so – as well.”
However, what might be passed over by thousands of tattoo fans in your everyday flash book, the fair promises that only six of each design will be tattooed onto willing recipients, with each being numbered on the skin. Once six people have been inked with the design it will be retired forever – creating a permanent and roaming art edition in itself.
If you manage to miss your spot – and with only 36 going at $250USD a pop, let’s be honest, you probably will – the designs will be immortalised in a book designed by iconic musician-turned-graphic designer Brian Roettinger, as well as in temporary tattoos for the less brave.
FLASH FLASH FLASH at the NY Art Book Fair will run at MoMA PS1 from 15-16 September 2016. See the full designs below and book here