“Tom of Finland: Pen and Ink 1965 – 1989”

20th March 2021, 10:30 am

Date(s) - 20th Mar 2021 - 1st May 2021
10:30 am - 4:30 pm

David Kordansky Gallery






TOM OF FINLAND, Untitled, 1967, Pen and ink on paper, 7 1/2 x 5 5/8 inches (19.1 x 14.3 cm), framed: 13 3/4 x 11 7/8 x 1 1/2 inches (34.9 x 30.2 x 3.8 cm) © 1967-2021 Tom of Finland Foundation

An exhibition of finished and preparatory drawings in a range of media, including pencil, pen, ink, marker, and gouache. Together, these pictures demonstrate the breadth of graphic production key to Tom of Finland’s creative output throughout his lifetime.

Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish; b. May 8, 1920, d. November 7, 1991) has long been recognized as one of the 20th century’s great visual innovators. A masterful draftsman, Tom produced an expressive body of work that depicts masculine, empowered gay men fully enjoying their sexuality, engulfed in intimate moments of unabashed joy and pleasure. This exhibition showcases the artist’s diverse material approaches to his meticulous figurations—including sharp pen and marker linework, ink washes, as well as delicate pencil shading—that exemplify the boldness of his vision and the virtuoso qualities of his hand. With their skillful observation of light and classical composition, and their images of muscular men engaged in complex motions, the drawings reveal formal concerns that call to mind the work of Caravaggio and Rembrandt.

Throughout his body of work, Tom gave legendary form to an imaginative universe that helped fuel real-world liberation movements and enabled gay men to have agency over their sexuality in new ways. His revolutionary representations of the male body responded to his own desires and real-life experiences, drawing from careers in advertising and the military and existences in Finland and Los Angeles. In turn, he not only imagined but also materialized a world that celebrates the boundlessness of desire, inspiring generations of artists and people of all kinds to embrace the empowering, libidinal forces in each of us.

An accompanying, fully illustrated catalogue will be published in fall 2021.

Disseminating fantasies in the fullest possible capacity

Tom made many of the works featured in Tom of Finland: Pen and Ink 1965 – 1989 with pen, ink, and marker for the purpose of reproduction in publications. The printed medium provided a space for Tom to produce and disseminate his fantasies in the fullest possible capacity. An important precursor for many later underground… View Article

Exhibition History

Exhibition History Tom of Finland Selected Solo Exhibitions: Selected Group Exhibitions: Public Collections: Publications: Video, Film and Stage: Selected Solo Exhibitions: 2021 | David Kordansky Gallery Tom of Finland: Pen and Ink 1965 – 1989 | Los Angeles, USA 2020 | Parco Reality & Fantasy: The World of Tom of Finland | Osaka, Japan 2020… View Article

Published: 20th March 2021

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