(Images below are not included in the Art Department folder on this CD.)

ABOUT THE FOUNDATION

The Tom of Finland Foundation, a 501(c)(3), nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, was created in 1984 by Touko Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland (1920-1991), and Durk Dehner, Foundation Director. In the opinion of most scholars, Tom was the foremost gay male erotic artist of the 20th century – his images had a tremendous influence on emerging notions of human sexuality in general, and masculinity in particular, in the years following World War II. Five of Tom’s works were recently acquired by the Judith Rothschild Foundation for inclusion in a collection of significant drawings of the 20th century, which will be gifted to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York in 2006.

The original purpose of the Foundation was to preserve and document Tom’s work for future generations. Within a few years, however, the rampant spread of AIDS had brought about the death of many erotic artists and the consequent destruction of their work by uncaring or vengeful heirs. Heeding the pleas of desperate artists, the Foundation expanded its mission to include preserving, protecting, and promoting all erotic art.

Our mission continues today through a wide variety of programs. The Permanent Collection of more than 1,000 original works by Tom, and another 2,000 works by hundreds of other artists, and the Archives, with well over 100,000 images, documents and pieces of memorabilia, together comprise the world’s largest repository of erotic art. Many scholars and researchers call upon this resource – a few examples include Dr. Richard Meyer of the University of Southern California, whose book, Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art (Oxford University Press), includes images and references to Tom’s work; and Belgian art historian Micha Ramaker, author of Dirty Pictures: Tom of Finland, Masculinity, and Homosexuality (St. Martin’s Press). The Foundation itself has published three print retrospectives of Tom’s work, the latest of which contains a foreword by former Whitney Museum curator Richard Marshall. Tom’s art is also the subject of two books published by Taschen Verlag.

Since 1993, the Foundation has conducted a biennial Emerging Erotic Artist Contest, giving heretofore unrecognized talents the opportunity to introduce themselves to the art world. We conduct outreach through a biweekly e-news bulletin and a twice-yearly newsletter, The Dispatch, which includes the "Erotic Art Gallery". We maintain a strong web presence at www.TomOfFinlandFoundation.org (which has won Cybersocket Magazine’s best "Art & Artists" site on the web for two years running); and participate in various local and international exhibitions and symposiums throughout the year. Recent additions to the roster of programs include Salon Nights, informal gatherings at private homes to which artists and collectors bring their favorite works; and a monthly life Drawing Workshop. The longest-running Foundation activity is Archiving Sunday, at which volunteers document and record Tom’s work, and that of other artists – it has been held every other week for more than twenty years.

The Foundation’s biggest events are the Erotic Art Fair Weekends in Los Angeles and New York, where artists from around the world display and sell their work. The West Hollywood – Los Angeles Erotic Art Fair Weekend takes place annually in October. The Weekend includes a Friday night Artists’ Reception, a two-day Erotic Art Fair, seminars, and an Awards Banquet. In 2001, we produced the first New York Erotic Art Fair Weekend, and the annual east coast Fairs held in May have become cultural events as eagerly anticipated as their west coast counterparts.

For further information, call the Foundation at 213.250.1685 or write Dan Berkowitz at DanBerkowitz@TomOfFinlandFoundation.org.