TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION

TOM OF
FINLAND

THE
FOUNDATION

EROTIC ART
GALLERIES

EXHIBITIONS
& EVENTS

ARTIST &
MUSEUM LINKS

HOME

OVER A QUARTER CENTURY OF DEDICATION TO PROTECTING, PRESERVING AND PROMOTING EROTIC ART.
THE JAPANESE CONNECTION
BARAZOKU MAGAZINE DONATES TO FOUNDATION
by Steve Addona

A cocktail reception was held at Foundation headquarters on June 30 to honor the famous pioneer of Japan's gay community Mr. Bungaku Ito, editor-in-chief of Barazoku Magazine, Japan's preeminent publication for gay men. Mr. Ito recently presented the Tom of Finland Foundation with three pieces of erotic art. Know as the Father of the Japanese Gay Movement, Mr. Ito selected each piece from his private collection, which is believed to be the largest assemblage of homoerotic art in Japan. In 1971, Mr. Ito began publication of Barazoku, and over its often tumultuous twenty-eight year history, the magazine has featured original drawings and illustrations by Go Mishima, Go Hirano, Tatsuji Okawas, and Sadeo Hasegawa, as well as other Japanese erotic artists.


(left to right) Board Member Mike Goldie, former administrator Mike Maifeld, Mr. Ito and volunteer Bill Reichart proudly display the donated works

Steve Addona (seen here baring his chest) and his company, the Accurate Group, have done much to further contact between the gay men of America and Japan. His comments on several of the Japanese artists mentioned will be featured in the next Dispatch.

Willibrord Haas Gives an Old Medium New Life

COME UP AND SEE MY ETCHINGS

Ever since Albrecht Dürer, male nudes have been a popular subject for German artists. In the turmoil of today's Berlin, Willibrord Haas, who is already known for his abstract artwork, is using techniques which are even older than Dürer to express contemporary views of the male body.

As these images demonstrate, Willi uses a variety of etching methods (as well as painting and drawing) but he has a special affinity for dry-point, in which a sharp implement scratches lines directly into the metal plate. This method is not for the faint of heart since once a line is etched, it is permanent. After the drawing is complete, ink is rubbed into the scratches and wiped off the rest of the plate. Shadows and highlights are possible by wiping some areas cleaner than others and this can give each etching an individuality not available with most methods of reproduction. Unlike many etchers, Haas does his own printing in his studio.

“Some etchings I do `nach dem Leben' (direct from Nature), but most are taken from my own photo-graphs” Willi explained in the Volker Janssen monograph book of his etchings. In June he further informed Mike Maifield at the Foundation that “5 years ago I began to make photo pictures with my models and enjoy more and more doing this.” Perhaps in the future, we'll get a chance to enjoy his skills with the camera as well as with a burin (etching tool). In the meantime, if you are lucky enough to have a collector of Willibrord Haas works ask you to “Come up and see my etchings” — Go!

 

 


BERLIN'S EROTIC ART MUSEUM
Around the turn of the century, the capital of Germany overtook Paris to become the capital of sex. The city went about it in a typically German way — scientifically. Magnus Hirschfeld created the world's first institute for the study of sex and Thomas Mann wrote thick, serious novels about sexual trauma. But, after WWI, Berlin learned how to have fun with sex too. Vicki Baum's “Grand Hotel” spilled all the secrets of the Adelon, the city's greatest hotel, and “The Threepenny Opera” depicted street sex to become the biggest hit in Berlin's theatrical history. Then came the Nazis and all of that freedom was destroyed, including the Adelon itself.


Giant wooden Balinese phalluses and a vintage piece of commercial erotica illustrate the museum's range

Today Berlin is in the midst of a great Renaissance. Even the Adelon is back, exactly as it was, only even grander (not one red-caped doorman — three!). As yet, no new Institute for Sexual Research has opened but there is the next best thing — a museum of erotic art. This extravagant monument to sex comes courtesy of one of postwar Berlin's great individuals, Beate Uhse, a woman whose proselytizing for sexual freedom often dipped into `bad taste' but never ceased to encourage people to move beyond outmoded moral codes. She always practiced what she preached: in her seventies she married a man one-third her age.

Her museum stands at the heart of modern Berlin, one block north of the famous Café Kranzler and one block south of the even more famous Berlin Zoo. Inhabiting a six-story architectural landmark, it justifiably bills itself as the “Largest Erotic Museum in the World!” The 5,000 artifacts inside range over all of history and every culture. Elaborately-carved whale's penises, Roman lamps, Greek coins, Balinese and African fertility objects, and Japanese pillow books, are interspersed with life-sized tableaus of sexual scenes (which are the least successful of the displays, being unimaginatively and cheaply executed).

But the greatest glory of the museum lies in its memorabilia from the city's own erotic past, dozens of photographs of notorious clubs and personages and, best of all, works by Berlin artists both known (Zill, Grosz) and unknown. The set of erotic watercolors by George Grosz are perhaps the finest works the artist ever did, yet are never seen anywhere else (they are really hard-core).

All types of erotica are democratically displayed — gay, straight, mainstream, fetish — everything gets equal treatment. Supporters of the Tom of Finland Foundation's own erotic museum project should be motivated by the success and scale of Berlin's Beate Uhse International Erotik Museum.

Giant wooden Balinese phalluses and a vintage piece of commercial erotica illustrate the museum's range


© TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION 1999

— Share This Page —
Share |

MALE MUSE
"Whenever I was depressed or disgusted, I would feel him, that spirit inside, urging me back to living, back to drawing, I believe there is a lot to the world that can’t be seen or touched, and if you turn away from that — especially if you are an artist — you are avoiding an important part of life, maybe the very heart of it.” — Tom of Finland