1976, 2020 – Tom back in Germany

11th August 2020, 9:53 pm

Ris­ing to fame under the pseudonym Tom of Fin­land, Touko Laakso­nen (1920—1991) is per­haps the most famous and influ­en­tial Finnish artist of the 20th century. His iconic depic­tion of proud and life-affirm­ing gay­ness pro­vided deci­sive impulses for the interna­tional gay move­ments from the 1960s onwards. But although we instinc­tively asso­ciate his sensu­ous por­tray­als of self-confi­dent and carefree cops, cowboys, farm­ers, and men in black leather with the USA, the base camp for Tom’s stellar ascent to gay icon sta­tus lay nei­ther in his native Fin­land nor in the USA. It was, of all places, Hamburg and the close bonds that Tom had formed with expo­nents of the local gay scene there in the early 1970s that led to his first-ever exhi­bi­tion, a bar adorned with his works and named after him, two grand murals and the forma­tion of the most important pri­vate col­lec­tion of his work. Reg­u­lar commis­sions to design posters and ads for gay events in Hamburg allowed him to launch his artis­tic career after quitt­ing his day job as an adver­tis­ing exec­u­tive. And even his first trip to the US was plotted there. In and from Hamburg, Tom’s draw­ings—that had largely been regarded as mere reproduc­tion mate­r­ial—began their triumphal march around the globe as works of art. If, today, we under­stand Tom of Fin­land as an artist rather than as a commer­cial illus­trator with a pen­chant for pornog­ra­phy, then this appre­cia­tion, too, is Made in Ger­many.

For Tom of Fin­land’s centen­nial, Galerie Judin is devot­ing a museal exhi­bi­tion with more than 60 loans—many of them on view for the very-first time—and a comprehen­sive exhi­bi­tion cat­a­logue to these forma­tive Ger­man years.

 

HANGING THE SHOW

 


“TOM OF FINLAND Made in Germany”

12th Sep 2020 – 19th Dec 2020 @ 11:00 am – 6:00 pm –       Tom’s first ever exhibition was in Hamburg in 1976 and he did many commissions for German clients. The gallery has  recreated this first show and devoted a publication to these seminal years. Through his iconic drawings, Tom of Finland almost single-handedly changed the way Gay men were perceived by society, and – […]

“TOM OF FINLAND Made in Germany” Opening reception

11th Sep 2020 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm –       Tom’s first ever exhibition was in Hamburg in 1976 and he did many commissions for German clients. The gallery has  recreated this first show and devoted a publication to these seminal years. Through his iconic drawings, Tom of Finland almost single-handedly changed the way Gay men were perceived by society, and – […]

Published: 11th August 2020

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