for immediate release  


(Finnish, 1920 – 1991),
California, 1981,
Color pencil on paper,
ToFF #81.01,
© 1981 Tom of Finland Foundation, Inc.

April 14, 2012 – July 31, 2012

Opening Reception:
Saturday, April 14, 2012,
7:00 pm – Midnight

World Erotic Art Museum
1205 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139

Opening on the weekend of Miami Beach Gay Pride, this exhibit of 20 original drawings and paintings focuses on artwork that greatly influences Gay culture by challenging oppressive stereotypes. By depicting masculine men enjoying their sexuality free of shame, Tom of Finland has had an important effect on global culture. Harvey S. Shipley Miller of The Judith Rothschild Foundation stated that, “Tom of Finland was one of the five most influential artists of the last century; that influence transcended into the culture and became it.”

Five decades of this prolific artist’s work is represented and shows, in chronological order, the development of his techniques and the breadth of his subject matter. Also, as part of the exhibit, is a new video tribute to Tom of Finland and rare, vintage memorabilia.

Tom of Finland’s artwork has been accepted into the permanent collections of major museums such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. Curator Volker Morlock brings together original artwork from Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF) in Los Angeles, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York and private collections, with many pieces shown to the public for the very first time.

Says S. R. Sharp, VP and curator for ToFF, “Miami Beach is a vital art center and Male Masterworks is a great opportunity to celebrate Tom – both as a liberator and as an artist – during the city’s Pride.”

Even with progress in Gay rights today, stereotyping continues in entertainment and media, proving that a discussion about the diversity of masculine and feminine role models is as relevant now, as ever. Tom of Finland’s art continues to play an important role in promoting self-confidence, openness and a positive self-image in the Gay community.

Tom of Finland was born Touko Laaksonen in 1920 in the village of Kaarina, Finland. His parents were schoolteachers who fostered their children’s interest in the arts. At the age of 19, Laaksonen enrolled in a correspondence course in advertising. At that time, and for his own personal enjoyment, he created his first homoerotic drawings.

In 1940, Laaksonen was drafted into the army and served for four years as a second lieutenant. After World War II, he moved to Helsinki, where he began to work for an advertising agency.

Laaksonen continued to draw his erotic fantasies and in the conservative social climate of the mid-1950s, submitted them to the American, all-male “bodybuilding” magazine, Physique Pictorial. It was the publisher that gave him the pseudonym “Tom of Finland”.

Tom of Finland’s images were an immediate success and numerous publications followed. Since 1973, his work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide.

With his friend Durk Dehner, Tom of Finland founded Tom of Finland Company in 1979; Tom of Finland Foundation was formed five years later as a nonprofit Educational Archive to protect, preserve, and promote erotic art and to encourage healthier, more tolerant attitudes about sexuality.

Tom of Finland edited his first art book, Tom of Finland Retrospective, in 1988. In 1991 he was the subject of, and featured in, the film documentary Daddy and the Muscle Academy – The Art, Life, and Times of Tom of Finland. Later that year, he died of complications from emphysema.

Volker Morlock was educated in the visual arts in Germany and the United States. An art collector himself, he has been involved with Tom of Finland Foundation since 1991 and was the editor of its anthology, Tom of Finland Retrospective III. Morlock was also a consultant for Taschen Publishing on its book, Tom of Finland XXL.

Gallery representation for Tom of Finland artwork is:
Feature Inc.
131 Allen Street
New York, NY 10002

# # # # #

Print quality images available on request.

For further information:

Tom of Finland Foundation
Los Angeles, California, USA
Phone: 213.250.1685

April 13, 2012

Images: Courtesy Tom of Finland Foundation, Los Angeles.
Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF) holds all copyrights.
All images must be accompanied with ToFF copyright information.
TOM OF FINLAND® is a registered trademark of Tom of Finland Foundation, Inc.
and protected under international copyright law, Geneva Convention, 1982.
Tom of Finland® Foundation, Inc., Los Angeles, California USA
(Finnish, 1920 – 1991),
Untitled (Preliminary drawing), 1965
Graphite on paper, 8.25" x 5.83 ",
Tom of Finland Foundation
Permanent Collection
© 1965 Tom of Finland Foundation, Inc.
(Finnish, 1920 – 1991),
Untitled (From the The Tattooed Sailor series)
1962, Graphite on paper, 11.63" x 8.25"
Tom of Finland Foundation
Permanent Collection
© 1962 Tom of Finland Foundation, Inc.
(Finnish, 1920 – 1991),
Tom’s Finnish Tango, 1947,
Gouache on paper, 11.38" x 8.13"
Tom of Finland Foundation
Permanent Collection
© 1947 Tom of Finland Foundation, Inc.
(Finnish, 1920 – 1991),
Untitled (From In the Park), 1972,
Graphite on paper, 11.75" x 8.25"
Tom of Finland Foundation
Permanent Collection
© 1972 Tom of Finland Foundation, Inc.
(Finnish, 1920 – 1991),
Untitled (Sailor’s Dream), 1959
Graphite on paper, 7.50" x 10.38",
Tom of Finland Foundation
Permanent Collection
© 1959 Tom of Finland Foundation, Inc.
(Finnish, 1920 – 1991),
Ecstasy, 1981,
Color pencil on paper, 13.75" x 15.63",
Tom of Finland Foundation
Permanent Collection
© 1981 Tom of Finland Foundation, Inc.

T O M   O F  F I N L A N D   F O U N D A T I O N

Over A Quarter Century of Dedication
to Protecting, Preserving and Promoting Erotic Art


1421 laveta terrace
p.o. box 26658
los angeles, ca 90026
phone 213.250.1685
fax 213.481.2092

press pages: click here

Gallery Representation for
Tom of Finland Artwork is:
Feature Inc.,
131 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

if you would like to adjust the types of materials you receive from the foundation, please click here.