Since 1936, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has been dignified.
As of May 29th, however, it’s going to look a little different.
On May 29th, it’s getting 115 tattoos.
And frankly, it’s about time.
With the opening of Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art, and Tradition (also known as Perseverance), Richmond’s most popular art form moves into the biggest gallery in town.
The world-famous exhibition—including pieces by Horitaki, Horitomo, Miyazo, and Shige—combines the mysticism and beauty of feudal Japan with the style and skill of modern art.
And if there’s a better place on the East Coast for it, we can’t think of it.
The capital of the old South—Richmond, Virginia—is now the artistic hub of the new South.
It’s the third-most tattooed city in America (per capita, mind you), which makes it the perfect match of artists and audience.
Richmond is, was, and will always be in love with art.
Just not always the kind that hangs on gallery walls.
Tattoos, graphic design, sculpture, typography, mural painting—Richmond’s breaking all kinds of new ground in these every year.
When you’ve got a mix of young artists, art students, tattoo artists, musicians, skateboarders, crust punks, regular old (or as regular as they get) punks, bike gangs, motor-scooter gangs, and general nonconformists like Richmond has, you’re going to see an awful lot of beautiful things that don’t always fit the 20th-century definition of “art.”
VMFA, to its credit, has realized this.
In a city that prides itself fiercely on outsider culture, it’s letting those outsiders in.
And not just letting them in—celebrating them.
The opening weekend—the Japan to RVA Tattoo Weekend—brings tattoo artists in from all over the East Coast, starting with an exclusive preview (by invitation only) of the exhibition on Thursday, May 28.
On Friday, May 29th, Japanese Tattoo opens to the public, supplemented by a photo session and a guest lecture from Kip Fulbeck, the artist, photographer, and designer behind the exhibit.
Saturday, May 30th starts with a gallery walk with Fulbeck and finishes with a party where VMFA, Art Whino, and Triple Crossing Brewing unveil Richmond’s first Japanese tattoo mural.
Come learn what makes Japanese tattoos so special.
In the city that reveres tattoos above almost all other art.
Join an entire city as we celebrate the spirit and culture of Japanese tattoo.
Learn more about the exhibition and its opening weekend at VMFA.Tattoo
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