This work on paper by Tom of Finland features in SHOWstudio’s
PUNK exhibition curated by Nick Knight, which traces the images and
objects that defined the punk aesthetic. Beginning with an impetus to
exhibit the images that literally came to define this audacious movement
– the show represents the pivotal melange of musicians, personalities,
places and icons, that defined the time.
The exhibition features Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood,
Steve Jones, Paul Cook, The Clash, Poly Styrene, Robert Mapplethorpe,
Jim French, Tom of Finland, Jamie Reid, Pennie Smith, Judy Linn, Bob
Gruen, Dennis Morris, Jonh Ingham, Jon Savage, Ku Khanh, Ray Stevenson,
Kevin Cummins, Sheila Rock, Steve Johnston, Steve Emberton, Kate Simon.
Nick Knight was the creative consultant for the Metroplitan Museum’s
exhibition Punk: Chaos to Couture and has programmed a series
of accompanying projects on SHOWstudio.com and in SHOWstudio Shop.
| Tshirt, 1969 |
TOM OF FINLAND, 1964
Both Todd Oldham and Holly Johnson cite Vivienne Westwood’s
“cowboy” T-shirt, popularized by the Sex Pistols, as their
introduction to Tom’s art. Ironically, the image appropriated
by Westwood and partner Malcolm McLaren for the infamous shirt was not
by Tom, but by Los Angeles artist and Colt Studio’s founder Jim
French, never hearing of the shirt, had this to say:
This image was part of a series of a series of six
drawings I did with the title ‘Longhorns’. The series was
released in 1969, just two years after Colt Studios was created. It
was the drawing that first established Colt.
Frontal nudity was not yet legal in 1969, let alone
physical contact between men, so I had to be very clever. I remember
for this image that I made the space between the two penises as thin
as a hair, one of the subtleties lost when cheaply printed, Vivienne
Westwood or no.
I trust this will end this tempest in a teapot and
put to record straight on the ‘Tom of Finland’ T-shirt.
Believe it or not, while he was a great artist, Tom was not the only
person drawing noteworthy male nudes in the 1960s and ’70s. There
were nowhere as many of my drawings as there were of Tom’s, and
mine were in a more realistic vein while his were fantasy, but in the
end it is just apples and oranges.
From TASCHEN’s Tom
of Finland XXL