“AllTogether”, a group exhibition from the collection of Tom of Finland Foundation at The Community Centre in Paris and Studio Cannaregio at the Venice Biennale till June 26th artworks photographed by Evan Walsh

15th May 2022, 5:45 pm




Dear Shaded Viewers,

I had such a great afternoon visiting the AllTogether a group exhibition from the collection of Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles, curated by Tom of Finland Foundation and The Community. The exhibition opened today in Paris but it opened 23rd April as part of the Venice Biennale, at the Studio Cannaregio. Tom of Finland, Touko Laaksonen, was born on 8th May, the opening date to the public, more than 100 years ago, he was born in 1920. While I was visiting the exhibition I had the opportunity to chat with Durk Dehner, who is the co-founder, with Tom of Finland, of the Tom of Finland Foundation. Durk was joined in conversation with S. R. Sharp, the Vice President of the TOM House, Durk is the President and Co-Founder of the TOM House. I heard so many stories that go with the art work. Of course it is best if you let Durk tell you some of them but in essence, Durk met Tom when Durk was in his mid-twenties and Tom was about 58. Durk had torn a drawing by Tom of Finland off of a wall and was very moved by it and it was the first time in his life that he was moved by art. He will tell you but long story short, he wrote to Tom and when a gallery in Los Angeles invited Tom to show his work in LA, Durk asked Tom if he could host him. That was the beginning of a major turning point in the life of Durk as well as for Tom. Durk went as far to say that Tom gave him a purpose in life, a reason not to kill himself. He wanted to know what were the bucket points in life that Tom wanted to achieve and he went point by point and made them happen. I asked him if he’d had a business sense prior to this and he said no but what he did have was a passion for Tom’s work and the impact his work had on an entire global community.

For over thirty years, the Tom of Finland Foundation has been building the largest collection of LGBTQ + art in the world. Durk Dehner is the co-founder of Tom of Finland and from 1984 the aim of the Foundation is to preserve Tom’s work but also the work of queer artists, many of whom have been discriminated against because of the nature of their work. AllTogether explores the erotic art collection consisting of thousands of works spanning several decades and encompassing all media and techniques. The Foundation’s beginning coincided with the onset of the AIDS epidemic and many of the artists feared that their work would be forgotten or destroyed after they died. They donated their work to the Foundation, knowing that it would be carefully archived and their stories preserved. The Foundation provides a unique open space of freedom and love for this community of artists. Between the work at the Venice exhibition and Paris, about 200 works from the 1940’s to the present day will be shown.

I had the pleasure of Durk’s company walking around the exhibition and having him explain the back stories behind many of the artworks. We also sat on the couch in the mini TOM House that was set up in the back of the gallery. Durk , S. R. Sharp and Tuukka re-created the atmosphere of the Los Angeles TOM House. On the screen Tom was talking to some students explaining what it was like at the time he was creating the work. The catalogue of the AllTogether exhibition is an absolute treasure complete with images, letters, stories behind the art works, it is a must have and it was made possible by the support of Diesel. The AllTogether exhibition brochure gives you the story behind the exhibition and has little images of the art with the stories behind each piece. It starts with Tom of Finland’s first job at Physique Pictorial in 1957 and goes on from there. Please take the time to listen to the videos above so you can hear much more from Durk himself.

“It has always been my ambition to organise an international exhibition with the outstanding artists in the Foundation’s rich collection. That day has come and I am very happy that it has become a reality thanks to The Community and Glenn Martens of Diesel. “Durk Dehner, President and co-founder of the Tom of Finland Foundation

The exhibition is supported by Diesel and is the first time the artworks from the permanent collection of Tom of Finland Foundation have been shown outside of the Foundation. In fact AllTogether is divided between two locations, 23rd April, it opened at the Studio Cannaregio at the Venice Biennale and, like Paris will continue until 26th June.

AllTogether embodies the bonds of a community where sharing inspires others to create or collect art that represents their own definitions of beauty.









About the Exhibition Artists Venice Paris Catalogue Press About the Exhibition On the occasion of Tom of Finland’s birthday (8th May), Tom of Finland Foundation and The Community have curated a group exhibition, supported by Diesel, presenting Tom of Finland Foundation’s permanent collection. AllTogether explores the erotic art collection consisting of thousands of artworks, spanning… View Article
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Published: 15th May 2022

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