Read ink: Lining up for tattoos from Red Hook’s image library

Bringing it to life: Reanimation Library founder Andrew Beccone is showcasing his more than 2,000 books at Pioneer Books.
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These pictures are coming to life!

Locals will line up this weekend to have images from an unusual library tattooed into their flesh. The “Make It Last Forever” two-day event, starting on April 13 at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, will feature flash sheets selected from the “Reanimation Library” — a collection of more than 2,000 illustrated books chosen for their unique explanatory imagery, said the founder of the project.

“The visual information is the primary criteria — most people look at them as antiquated or out-dated. [I look for] diagrammatic or explanatory images — explaining how something works, old psychology textbooks, urban planning, sports books, how to play squash,” said Andrew Beccone, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “Internatio­nal law does not have a lot of images, but a cookbook, or interior design, or biology — those types of things tend to be visual.”

Beccone’s “Reanimation Library,” on display through December at Pioneer Books, just a block from the gallery space where visitors will receive their ink, has traveled all around the world. It includes many obscure or out-of-print books — including the “10th Blue Book of Dolls and Values,” “The Magic World of Flower Arranging,” and “Variety Meats, Veal Dishes, Vegetables” — and is still growing, he said.

This weekend, Brooklyn tattoo artist Doreen Garner will ink images drawn from those books — which include pictures of hands forming sign language, a bird’s skeletal system, and an antique telephone, among others — onto pre-registered guests. Beccone is eager to see who shows up for the fully booked event — he imagines it will be a mix of bookworms, tattoo lovers, and followers of Garner, he said.

“I have no idea, which kind of makes this event exciting — we don’t know who is going to show up,” said Beccone. “I’m going to be really curious to see who shows up.”

Pioneer Works will also showcase the Reanimation Library at several upcoming events, including reading from the books at the workshop “Animated Listening” on May 20, examining its cataloging system on June 2, and a workshop that teaches participants to compose music based on visual images, on July 22.

“Make It Last Forever” at Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer St. between Conover and Van Brunt streets in Red Hook, April 13–14; noon–6 pm. $150–$200.

Reanimation Library at Pioneer Books (289 Van Brunt St. at Pioneer Street in Red Hook, Open Wed–Sun; noon–7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:46 pm, July 9, 2018
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