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.




“TOM OF FINLAND Made in Germany”

12th Sep 2020 – 19th Dec 2020 @ 11:00 am – 6:00 pm –       UPDATE 14th DECEMBER: The gallery has had to close for the next COVID lockdown in Germany (five days before the exhibition was scheduled to end). Even still, a record breaking number were able to visit during the run. You are invited to purchase a catalogue (below) as a way to view this […]

“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 – […]

Visualizing the ultimate gay fantasy

 scrolling=”no”>; An interview with Henning von Berg Made in Germany Huge muscles, massive bulges and monumental cocks. Tom of Finland is known for exaggerated primary and secondary male sex traits like no other. Tom has achieved world fame and a current exhibition in Berlin shows the artist’s early work.         Tom… View Article

Virtual tour of the Tom of Finland exhibition at Galerie Judin

29th Dec 2020 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm – NOTE: Time is Eastern Time (US and Canada)                   Former Creative Director of Bruno Gmunder Books, Mischa Gawronski, will be joining Stonewall Executive Director Hunter O’Hanian for the virtual tour of the exhibition. Tom of Fin­land is a gay icon. His draw­ings of well-built men in rugged attire […]

Published: 11th August 2020

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