“TOM OF FINLAND Love and Liberation” CLOSED due to pandemic

6th March 2020, 12:00 am

Date(s) - 6th Mar 2020 - 27th Jun 2020
All Day

House of Illustration







House of Illustration’s current site at King’s Cross, which has been closed since March due to the pandemic, will not reopen however; since its launch in 2014, it has hosted shows dedicated to artists such as Posy Simmonds and Tom of Finland.

“Very sadly, we will not be able to reopen House of Illustration at 2 Granary Square and it’s heartbreaking that Love and Liberation was only open for 10 days, particularly as we had such an amazing response from people in that short time.” -Olivia Ahmad, curator, House of Illustration, 27th July 2020


Tom of Finland Virtual Exhibition Tour

                  A recorded presentation by one of the co-curators of TOM OF FINLAND: Love and Liberation. “We were so, so proud and excited to be showing the work of gay cultural icon Tom of Finland back in March… and so, so gutted when the coronavirus pandemic meant… View Article


Talking Tom of Finland: A Live Birthday Q&A with Durk Dehner FIND WHERE TO REGISTER

We’ve had such an amazing response to Tom’s work the past 10 days or so – it’s so moving to see what it means to people, and we’re immensely proud to have it here and of our collaboration.

Cases of coronavirus are increasing here in London, and while there isn’t widespread panic, the government is issuing regular advice to try to prevent the spread of infection.  Today they instructed the public to limit going to social and cultural spaces, and so along with most other public arts spaces here in the city, we have made the difficult decision to close to the public until government advice changes.  We plan to reopen as soon as we can, but we don’t know if we’re talking about days or weeks at the moment.

We know there are lots of people waiting to see Tom’s work, but we have faith that we will be able to reopen soon. -Olivia Ahmad, curator, House of Illustration, 16th March 2020

Recon went to the House of Illustration in London

Tom of Finland Foundation president, Durk Dehner, guides us through the exhibition dedicated to gay cultural icon Tom of Finland on the centenary of his birth.

TOM OF FINLAND, Untitled ((From Sex on the Train), 1974, Pen and ink on paper, 10.75” x 7.88”, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection ©1974-2020 Tom of Finland Foundation


The UK’s first public exhibition dedicated solely to gay cultural icon Tom of Finland (born Touko Laaksonen) on the centenary of his birth.

This timely exhibition celebrates the artist whose unique aesthetic and homoerotic visions had a profound impact on the likes of Queen and the Village People – despite living and working in a country where both homosexuality and pornography were illegal.

It features iconic, previously unseen drawings from Tom of Finland Foundation’s collection – unabashed tributes to gay sexuality and identity which continue to have an outsize influence today.

On view through 27th June for Pride in London.




Experience the guided tour first hand

Durk Dehner, cofounder of Tom of Finland Foundation invites you through a one-on-one tour around the UK’s first public exhibition dedicated to the late king of gay erotica. Dehner takes us on a guided video trip around the House of Illustration, covering the backstories and legacies of each of the 70 pieces which make up… View Article

While you can’t visit the physical exhibition, you can take a virtual private view. SEE HOW TO REGISTER

Want more Tom of Finland?

  Of course you do, and the House of Illustration exhibition catalogue in ABRAMS Books biography is the place to get it. 2020 was due to be, among other things, a year of celebrations to mark the centenary of Tom of Finland. 2020, as we know, had other ideas, and we had to close the… View Article

Tom’s message is as valid today as it was then

Homoerotica’s late, radical master arrives in London for the first time, in the year of his centennial. His partner, Durk Dehner, talks to us about the fascinating life of the subversive artist who helped liberate gays in the 20th century. It was only after Tom’s death, though, that Durk Dehner discovered the subversive side of… View Article

An impressive display of works


Conversation: Durk Dehner on Tom of Finland

    To celebrate Tom of Finland’s centenary, Bella Gladman interviews Durk Dehner, cofounder of Tom of Finland Foundation and the artist’s muse and advocate. Dehner and Gladman talk Tom of Finland’s life and legacy, with reference to the Tom of Finland: Love and Liberation exhibition.                  

The perfect way to celebrate the king of gay erotica

A rubber doll, a Cock Destroyer, and Philip Treacy walk into a bar… No this isn’t your idea of gay heaven, but the best sort of way to spend a Thursday evening courtesy of 10 Men and Tom of Finland Foundation. Thursday night we made our way down to the basement of the London Edition… View Article

The artist was a huge fan of the British capital

There are 70 pieces in the exhibition that were made from the 1950s to the 1980s, more than 20 of which have never been shown before. The selection includes 40 works on paper created between the 1960s and 1980s, on loan from the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles, which has been championing his work since 1984. In his… View Article

“not to create an ideal but to draw beautiful men who love each other and are proud of it”

This celebration of beautiful beefy bodies includes rarely seen works such as linocuts produced in limited editions and striking images of Durk Dehner, the co-founder of the Los Angeles-based Tom of Finland Foundation, which has loaned most of the works. At the exhibition launch, Dehner singled out a portrait of himself, aged 28. “He captured… View Article

This March, art is finding its sexy.

Master of gay erotic illustrations, Tom of Finland – born Touko Valio Laaksonen – was PornHub before PornHub was PornHub. In fact, he was pre-Blueboy magazine and pre-decriminalisation of homosexuality in the US and parts of Europe. His readily distinguishable sketches featuring homoerotic visions of muscled, leather-clad gay men are at the foundations of gay liberation as we… View Article

Tom of Finland’s erotic drawings have made him a global icon

An exhibition dedicated solely to his work opened at London’s House of Illustration (though the gallery is currently closed due to the Coronavirus crisis). Curator Olivia Ahmad says the show, produced in collaboration with Tom of Finland Foundation on the centenary of Tom of Finland’s birth, is necessary because he’s “one of the most influential… View Article

“TOM OF FINLAND Love and Liberation” opens in London

The UK’s first public exhibition dedicated solely to gay cultural icon Tom of Finland on the centenary of his birth. Curated by Olivia Ahmad      

Published: 6th March 2020

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