Tom of Finland

Tom of Finland
Untitled, 1947
gouache on paper
11 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches
(28.7 x 20.8 cm)
Photo, Brian Forrest
Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Los AngelesArt & Culture

Mano a Mano

Tom of Finland's pioneering work fought misconceptions of gay men in provocative fashion...

Cock, cock and more cock. Proud, throbbing, tumescent members wherever you look. Just thought we’d better let you know what to expect at this exhibition, although if you’re familiar with the work of Touko Laaksonen (aka Tom of Finland) it won’t come as too much of a shock. Of course, these days gay art is everywhere and (one would hope) not that shocking at all, but the show at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles is concerned with the artist’s early work from the period 1944-1972, at a time when such material was revolutionary and required semi-illicit distribution.

Laaksonen’s portrayals of homoerotic encounters certainly don’t hide their light under a bushel; his men are muscular exhibitionists, unabashed and not given — it seems — to any sort of performance anxiety. In fact, Laaksonen’s figures challenged the prevailing stereotypes of the time of gay men as effete and sickly; his 1947 gouache work of a strongly-built, leather-clad chap in strident pose pleasuring a friend is one such example of this, as well as showcasing the artist’s delicate fashion-illustration style. Graphite drawings, inked storyboards and gouache works, selected with the input of the Tom of Finland Foundation, are on display in Early Work 1944 – 1972 until 7 March.

@TomsFoundation
@davidkordansky

Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland
Untitled, 1969
graphite on paper
11 1/2 x 8 inches
(29.2 x 20.3 cm)
Photo, Brian Forrest
Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland
T.V.- Repair, 1972
pen, ink, gouache, and cut-and-pasted
photo on paper
29.2 x 23.2 cm
20 panels, each: 11 1/2 x 9 1/8 inches
(29.2 x 23.2 cm)
Photo, Brian Forrest
Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland
T.V.- Repair, 1972
pen, ink, gouache, and cut-and-pasted
photo on paper
29.2 x 23.2 cm
20 panels, each: 11 1/2 x 9 1/8 inches
(29.2 x 23.2 cm)
Photo, Brian Forrest
Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland
Untitled, 1944
graphite on paper
11 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches
(29.8 x 21 cm)
Photo, Brian Forrest
Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland
T.V.- Repair, 1972
pen, ink, gouache, and cut-and-pasted
photo on paper
29.2 x 23.2 cm
20 panels, each: 11 1/2 x 9 1/8 inches
(29.2 x 23.2 cm)
Photo, Brian Forrest
Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

BLAH

Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland
Untitled, 1964
graphite on paper
13 x 9 1/2 inches
(33 x 24.1 cm)
Photo, Brian Forrest
Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland
Untitled, 1970
graphite on paper
8 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches
(22.2 x 17.1 cm)
Photo, Brian Forrest
Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Photography, Brian Forrest
Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

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