Art: Skin-Deep

By electrical means, without pain

Your pure epidermis may gain

From head unto heels—// the idea appeals—Decorations of which you will be vain,

Thus one of the most popular artists in Manhattan's Chinatown, the late Charlie Wagner, advertised his pictures. Until his death last New Year's Day, Wagner was one of a race of picture makers whose canvas is the human skin. The history of his profession is outlined in a short, bright book published last week: Pierced Hearts and True Love, by Hans Ebensten (British Book Centre; $3).

Ebensten sets out to tell how...

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