January 20, 2011

Event: Tom of Finland Retrospective

So you know the iconic gay artist Tom of Finland? Well, he’s actually from Finland! Who knew? And a new retrospective is taking him back (or his work at least) to Turku, Finland, as part of the 2011 European Capital of Culture celebrations. The exhibition, which is up now and runs throughout the year till December 18, features more than 70 rare drawings and paintings on paper that were done from 1928 to 1990.

Tom of Finland was born Touko Laaksonen in 1920 in the village of Kaarina, Finland. At age 19, he moved to Helsinki to attend art school, where he created his first homoerotic drawings. Following his release from the army after World War II, Laaksonen worked in advertising and continued drawing. He submitted his work to Physique Pictorial magazine, where he was first published in 1957 under the pseudonym Tom of Finland. His brilliant work soon became synonymous with gay culture and perhaps for the first time in art joined masculinity with homosexuality.

“Tom’s artwork provided generation after generation healthy and happy imagery with which they could identify,” president and cofounder of the Tom of Finland Foundation Durk Dehner says, “something that Western culture had been unwilling to supply and, in fact, did its utmost to curtail.”

Though he passed in 1991, Tom lives on through the more than 3,000 illustrations he created over four decades. International readers, get your butts to Finland! For more info, click here.

1 comment:

Donald said...

I love TOF - We have some really old "comic books" from the 80's - The Pekka stories were such fantasy fodder for me. Thanks for the reminder.