TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION
Tom of Finland
TOM OF FINLAND, c. 1984
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 25, 2011, 7:00 - 10:00
Your $10 donation benefits the Tom of Finland Foundation
Iconic Drawings from the Man Who
Defined a Movement
Through special arrangement with The Tom of Finland
Foundation in Los Angeles and Feature Inc. in New York, PHD Gallery
will exhibit 27 original graphite on paper drawings by Touko Laaksonen,
aka TOM of FINLAND. Opening June 25th at PHD Gallery and continuing
through August 6th, is the FIRST EVER exhibition in St. Louis
of ORIGINAL Tom of Finland drawings!
Tom’s images of idealized masculinity are iconic,
but few people have seen anything other than reproductions proliferated
on-line. The PHD exhibition will showcase 12 “finished”
graphite on paper drawings (designated not-for-sale) and 15 “preliminary
drawings” that will be offered for sale. Works culled from throughout
his career will be on view.
If gay men have historically been portrayed as weak,
pathetic, and sad individuals, then TOM’s drawings blew this
stereotype out of the water! His men were proud, happy and dignified.
They were powerful and unapologetic and gay men saw these hyper-masculine
images as heroes. Indeed, if you glance through comic books you’ll
see the depiction of most Super Heroes is not unlike the men in TOM’s
drawings. Tom’s drawings espoused an ideal in sexual prowess,
and worldly empowerment for gay men that lasts even today.
“In those days, a gay man was made
to feel nothing but shame about his feelings and his sexuality.
I wanted my drawings to counteract that, to show gay men being happy
and positive about who they were. Oh, I didn’t sit down to
think this all out carefully. But I knew, right from the start,
that my men were going to be proud and happy men!”
— Tom of Finland
Gallery Hours: Thursday - Sunday, Noon to 4:00
PM or by appointment.
2300 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118 · Map ·