In Paris and the Venice Biennale, the sex-positive universe of Tom of Finland

22nd June 2022, 12:01 pm


Durk Dehner in conversation with Dan Thawley


TOM OF FINLAND Untitled, 1989, Graphite on paper, 16.50” x 14.00” (framed), Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection, © 1988 Tom of Finland Foundation


The legendary figure Tom of Finland is a veritable poster boy for the rise and rise of LGBTQIA+ culture across the 20th century. Alongside his partner Durk Dehner, the Finnish artist cofounded Tom of Finland Foundation in 1984 to preserve and promote the legacy of his homoerotic body of work, which consists of thousands of pieces of ephemera from original gouaches and graphite sketches, to printed matter and merch. Leaving Finland and its post-World War II conservatism behind, Tom found solace in the burgeoning Gay community on the West Coast of America in the 1970s — a group that embraced hyper-masculinity in reaction to the discriminatory societal views of the time. His either suggestive or openly pornographic sketches inspired generations of artists to explore homoerotic themes and redefine the perception of Gay men and women in wider society, leading to an extensive permanent collection amassed over 30+ years by Tom of Finland Foundation.

For the first time outside of Los Angeles, Tom of Finland Foundation has curated a public exhibition that unites Tom’s work with the Foundation’s own collection, to form the group show AllTogether produced in conjunction with French arts centre The Community and supported by Diesel and its creative director Glenn Martens. The extensive group show is presented in two iterations: the first opened at Studio Cannaregio in Venice on 23rd April, coinciding with the inauguration of 2022 Venice Art Biennale, and the second in Paris at The Community Centre on 8th May [Tom’s birthday]. Both exhibitions run simultaneously through 26th June 2022.

A limited edition Diesel x Tom of Finland capsule collection in honour of Pride 2022 is now available at featuring works by Silvia Prada, Florian Hetz, Palanca, Peter Berlin, Michael Kirwan, Tank and Heather Benjamin.








AllTogether Feed Square 500


Published: 22nd June 2022

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