Geoff Ostling wants his tattooed skin hung on a gallery wall as art after he dies

Retired teacher Geoff Ostling is covered in tattoos by Australian artist eX de Medici. He likes them so much that he wants them to be preserved for posterity. So he's bequeathed his skin to the National Gallery in Canberra so that after he's dead it can be tanned and hung on the wall for everyone to see. The Gallery hasn't accepted it yet, and Ostling realizes the bequest is controversial, but he thinks the controversy is a result of people being overly squeamish:

What are the ethical problems with the display of human skins? Is it because a beautiful tattooed human skin may force people to confront their own mortality? That we all will die one day and none of us really knows what will happen after we die. Is this the big problem that makes some people shiver? I see the tanning of my skin and donating it to the Gallery as being no different to allowing the transplant of my heart or my lungs if they will save another person's life. The skin is the largest organ of the body.

Images via
     Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 01, 2012
     Category: Art | Skin and Skin Conditions

The 1st question that popped into mind was, "Is there that much free wall space in Canberra?"

Just askin'.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 06/01/12 at 10:05 AM
Tan me hide when I'm dead, Fred,
tan me hide when I'm dead.
So we tanned his hide when he died Clyde,
And that's it hanging on the shed.

The reference was so obvious...
Posted by KDP on 06/01/12 at 10:05 AM
That thought crossed my mind too Expat. Cheaper and easier to paint a panorama mural in the museum, and less gross as well.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 06/01/12 at 11:05 AM
Let me guess, Expat and patty are both extra skinny (just like the vast majority of Americans)
Posted by Constintine on 06/01/12 at 11:28 AM
Now, just what lead you to jump to that conclusion, Kostakis?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 06/01/12 at 11:32 AM
I don't want to see a man's backside, ever. I particularly don't want to see the tattoos he has on it. Call me crazy, that's just how I am. I have a bedspread with that exact same pattern. Can I call it art? One thing I'll give him though: he sure did a fine job stretching that canvas.
Posted by Overly Squeamish on 06/01/12 at 11:55 AM
@ KDP: Great song. I guess Aussies might go for this more than I do.

I'm not a fan of any tatoos at any time on anybody, so I won't be reserving a seat on a flight to Canberra for this.
Posted by Yarnalee on 06/01/12 at 01:09 PM
Tan me hide when I'm dead, Fred,

Several practical difficulties occur to me. If they flatten the skin out that will distort the pictures. Should they stretch his skin out like a painting on canvas? What kind of frame would be suitable? I don't suppose they're going to make a stretcher and frame out of his bones?

Before they can hang it somebody's going to have to tan it. How will the tanning process affect the pigments?

Before they can tan it, somebody's going to have to skin him.
Posted by Cougar Allen on 06/01/12 at 09:59 PM
Not particularly Constantine, but then I am not having myself tattooed to look like a Hawaiian shirt and trying to donate my hide (after death) to a museum like it is art either.

I like men's backsides, but au naturale is more to my taste.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 06/01/12 at 11:22 PM
Tanning human skin has been done for centuries to make book covers, lamp shades, and all manner of objet d'art and if the invaders have forgotten how (which I doubt) I'm sure the natives will remember.

Click here for a picture of a lamp shade.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 06/01/12 at 11:48 PM
Yes, of course you can tan human skin same as any skin, but can it be done without affecting the pigments? We're supposed to be trying to preserve great ahhhhhhht here....

-Cougar :{)
Posted by Cougar Allen on 06/01/12 at 11:53 PM
Hell, just read about Ed Gein and you can find out how to tan human hide.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 06/02/12 at 12:04 AM
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