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Celebrate the World of TOM on Daddy’s Day

Events of Interest



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Tom’s Bar

Events of Interest, Friends of Tom

The 24th annual commemoration of the artist Tom of Finland.

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, 1987, Graphite on paper, © 1987 Tom of Finland Foundation

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, 1987, Graphite on paper, © 1987 Tom of Finland Foundation

This year’s TOM’s Bar will be held June 21st, from 2pm to 7 pm at the Faultline bar in Los Angeles.

The event will be the Foundation’s 24th annual commemoration of the artist Tom of Finland, whose real name was Touko Laaksonen; he died in Finland in 1991.

The “Daddy’s Day” parking lot party for TOM is celebrated with artists showing their work, bawdy contests and prizes, a silent auction, food and drink, and general tomfoolery! All to benefit the Foundation that Laaksonen cofounded in 1984.

TOM’s Bar 2014 is presented by Los Angeles Band of Brothers and marks the 21 anniversary of Tom of Finland events sponsored by Faultline.

Sunday, 4216 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90029.



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“A FACE IN THE CROWD” | 6th June | LA

Events of Interest







Michael MP Griffin Art Show

Curated by Dulce Stein

“ I was pleased Stein chose to show my crowd paintings – Griffin says – because of my lifelong fascination with crowd dynamics, which are fluid like in nature. It started when I was a kid working at Oasis, a San Jose nightclub. From up high in the cat walks, I spent hours watching how, in a seemingly chaotic grouping of people, patterns form, and movements and emotions travel through like currents.
Often the dynamics could be predictable. It wasn’t long before I started experimenting with the abstract expression of that crowd energy in my paintings.”

Featuring additional events
with legendary performance artist Sheree Rose
and poet Gerald Locklin

Saturday, 5-10p

Exhibit on view 4th-14th June


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Comprehensive Exhibition of Tom of Finland | 13th June | NYC

Events of Interest





Tom of Finland: The Pleasure of Play

The Pleasure of Play will be the most comprehensive Tom of Finland survey exhibition to date, including more than 190 drawings, gouaches from the 1940s, over 300 pages of collages, as well as early childhood work.

Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen; Finnish; 1920, Kaarina – 1991, Helsinki), is considered to be the most iconic gay artist of the 20th century. 25 years after his death, the wide-reaching cultural impact of his work, in comparison to his global status, has only been infrequently presented, examined or discussed. 

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 - 1991) Untitled, 1963, Graphite on paper, 13.63" x 8.44", Tom of Finland Permanent Collection, © 1963 Tom of Finland Foundation

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991) Untitled, 1963, Graphite on paper, 13.63″ x 8.44″, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection, © 1963 Tom of Finland Foundation

Tom of Finland’s biography parallels pivotal moments of 20th century (gay-) history, bearing witness to the disasters, the turmoil and the radical changes that took place during his lifetime. Indeed, his work stands in dialectical relationship to these events and the often oppressive culture that surrounded him. Starting from an early age, Tom played with the iconographic conventions upon which both the representation and the very conception of masculinity are based. His emblematic, larger-than-life drawn phalluses not only threaten the existing symbolic order of heterosexuality, but also reorganize the principles by which (homo-)sexual desires are structured. His fearless portrait of sexuality can also be read as a portrait of the sadomasochistic relationship that is at play between culture and sub-culture itself, an aspect that is as much present in his work, as it runs through gay culture of the  20th and 21st centuries, as well as through his own biography.

A child of teachers, Tom grew up in rural Finland. At age 19 he enrolled in a distance learning advertising course. Soon drafted, he joined the Finnish Army in its fight against the Soviet invasion. After the war he stayed in Helsinki studying classical piano at the renowned Sibelius Academy. While at the Academy, he worked as freelance graphic designer, becoming later senior art director at the Helsinki branch of the global ad agency McCann Erickson. In 1973, after 17 years with the firm, he quit to be able to focus entirely on his own work. In the late 1970s, on one of his frequent visits to the US, he met Durk Dehner, with whom he founded Tom of Finland Foundation in 1984, based in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

Because of Tom of Finland’s compound status as artist and pop icon, his work has been admired by artists for many years. Bob Mizer’s Physique Pictorial jumpstarted Tom’s international career in 1957; Robert Mapplethorpe helped him get his first major gallery exhibition in New York in 1980; Mike Kelley invited Tom to speak at CalArts in 1988; Raymond Pettibon became a lifetime supporter of Tom of Finland Foundation; as did Richard Hawkins, who continues to work with the Foundation today.
Leading exhibition support provided by: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, through its Curatorial Fellowship Program; The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, through its Mobius Fellowship Program; David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles; and Galerie Buchholz, Berlin. 

Tom of Finland Exhibition Supporters Circle: Philip Aarons & Shelley Fox-Aarons, Shane Akeroyd, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Nicoletta Fiorucci (Fiorucci Art Trust, London), Greene Naftali Gallery, Wade Guyton, Michaeljohn Horne, Robert Longo, Bjarne Melgaard, John Morace & Tom Kennedy, Lari Pittman, Jack Shear, Cindy Sherman, Brent Sikkema, Danh Vo, Jordan Wolfson, Mark Grotjahn & Jennifer Guidi, Ingar Dragset & Michael Elmgreen, Robert Gober & Donald Moffett.

Special thanks to Stefan Kalmár, John Morace and Richard Hawkins.

Founded in 1972, in Downtown New York, Artists Space has for four decades successfully contributed to changing the landscape for contemporary art – lending support to emerging artists and emerging ideas alike.

38 Greene Street, 3rd Floor and 55 Walker Street
Opening reception will be held from 6:00pm until 8:00pm

Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: Noon – 6:00pm
On view till 23rd August






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Life Drawing Workshop | 7th June | LA

Events of Interest





Nude Figure Drawing and Painting

Each month the Foundation offers a friendly and positive
environment to practice your skills.

Sunday, 1-4p
Early arrival suggested due to parking availability.

Spinning the tunes: DJ RocketManLA, with over 100,000 songs!


$25 suggested donation at the door.
Scholarship funds available.

Coordinator: Miguel Angel Reyes
Reservations Required
Kindly give 48 hours notice if you must cancel.

TOM House
Echo Park


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Finlandization29 | 24th-26th July | Helsinki

Events of Interest




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Pride in London Parade | 27th June

Events of Interest






Celebrating #PrideHeroes, the Pride Parade is the ONLY annual event to close London’s iconic Oxford Street! Last year, around a quarter of a million people came into London for Pride. Whether they took part, partied, protested or just watched, we made sure it was a record-breaking event. More than 200 groups and 30,000 people made up the biggest ever.

The theme for this year’s Parade is Pride Heroes, celebrating those people who’ve made a difference to our community. Your hero might be Alan Turing, Chelsea Manning, Stephen Fry, Drew Barrymore, Harvey Milk, Freddie Mercury, Marlene Dietrich, Nelson Mandela, or Billie Jean King, or it might be a group of people or an organisation like Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners. It might be someone from your workplace, someone mythical like SuperWoman, or someone who’s less well-known but who’s important to your group.



MSC London will celebrate Tom of Finland

Our #GayLeather icon, Leather ambassador,
keen MSC London supporter and #PrideHero.
The only LGBT artist to be featured on a sovereign country
stamp and with a bare arse!


TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, 1983, Graphite on paper, © 1983 Tom of Finland Foundation

We will carry a 32′ Leather flag and encourage you to support us and walk with us to highlight and celebrate TOM our #PrideHero lead by our newly elected #MrLeatherUK.

Times are yet to be confirmed but we expect the Parade to leave Baker Street at 1:00p, with the end of the Parade reaching Whitehall at approximately 4:30p.






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Erotica Before Internet: How Muscles Changed the World | 21st June | Cannes

Events of Interest

International Festival of CreativityLION_400x429
21st – 27th June





McCann Helsinki and Tom of Finland Foundation

Touko Laaksonen turned Tom of Finland into a global phenomena way before the internet, and at the same time, changed the world and gave gay men a new confident identity.

How did he do it and what are the lessons for current world changers, nonconformists and cultural idea makers? 


TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, 1984, Graphite on paper, © 1984 Tom of Finland Foundation

How can a drawing change the word and a spearhead a cultural revolution? And how do you start with niche and became an integral part of a wider popular discussion without selling out?

In their unique talk, Petteri Lillberg, CEO for McCann Helsinki and Durk Dehner, President and Cofounder of Tom of Finland Foundation share how Touko Laaksonen turned Tom of Finland into a global phenomena way before the internet, and at the same time, changed the world and gave gay men a new confident identity. How he did it and what are the lessons for current world changers, rebels, nonconformists and cultural idea makers are all discussed coupled with deeply personal insights.


Petteri Lillberg


Durk Dehner












The session includes rarely seen material throughout Tom´s career and without any doubt, is truly X-rated!

Sunday, 4:45-5:15p
Audi A Stage


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Henzel Studio Collaborations/Heritage |11th June | PRIDE in DTLA

Events of Interest

Henzel Austere INVITATION v3.indd

Austere, a unique retail space for Scandinavian design and cultural programming located in Downtown LA, presents the first West Coast exhibition of art rugs produced by Henzel Studio, the world’s leading brand in the field.

The exhibition will serve as the US debut of Henzel Studio’s collaboration with Tom of Finland Foundation in the creation of a collection of 13 art rugs and 3 art pillows inspired by the unique environment and interior elements that make TOM House.  Located in Echo Park, Los Angeles, it is home of Tom of Finland Foundation, guardians of the artist’s body of work and living archive for the erotic arts, and where Tom permanently lived for the last decade of his life.

A hand knotted rug, entirely woven by hand over the course of five months, depicts one of Tom of Finland’s most iconic works of a Leatherman wearing a cap. The drawing was made as a study for the visual identity of the gay leather bar TOM’s Saloon, the only place Tom lent his name to. Made with comparable intricacy as the original drawing, it is free form and in select areas enhanced with silk to add shine and replicate the effect of polished leather.

The artworks woven into the hand tufted rug designs consist of a series of preparatory drawings, many unseen or ever reproduced. They feature portraits, scenes depicting camaraderie, homoerotic gaze, flirtation and sexual acts. One drawing outlines a man engaged in a boot fetish scene, another a nipple flirtation, whereas a third a f**k scene, bringing new meaning to love making on a rug.


TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled (Preparatory drawing), 1978, Graphite on paper © 1978 Tom of Finland Foundation

The art pillows, featuring unique collages, are based on the numerous collage works that can be found at TOM House; covering entire pieces of furniture, in nooks on walls and ceilings, and even on the rear end of their vintage car. The featured collages are composed of proof prints from vintage Tom of Finland books published by the Foundation in the ’80s, pages from original Physique Pictorial magazines from the ’60s-’70s and other printed material accumulated over the past thirty years. The dense works illustrate the vast styles and techniques of the artists, and offer a visually stunning and unfiltered insight into Tom of Finland’s work.

On view till 14th August


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“Slash” | 18th June | Riga

Events of Interest







The first Queer themed art project in Latvia


TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Nordic God, 1969, Graphite on paper, 11.50” x 8.00”, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection, © 1969 Tom of Finland Foundation

Represented artists: Tom of Finland (1944-1990, FI/USA), Aleesa Cohena(Canada), Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst (USA), Lucas Foletto Celinski (BR/DE), Atis Jākobsons (LV), Matthew Lutz Kinoy (USA), Inga Meldere (LV/FI), Vladislavs Nastavševs (LV), Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay(Canada), Armīns Ozoliņš (LV), Edgars Ozoliņš (1930-1987, LV), Karol Radziszewski (PL), Wolfgang Tillmans (DE), Vilnis Vējš  (LV).

Thinking about the problematic contrast of social acceptance and gay rights or their absence in the present Latvia, this project follows an idea about the universalising view on sexual identity and desire questioning previously dominant model of binary oppositions (male/female, homosexual/heterosexual) and the open-source mentality of the later concepts of queer sexuality, “third sex”, etc.

Avoiding any presumptions that certain individuals are truly born gay and only those born with the “deviant” traits share an interest in them, this project stresses that homosexuality is important to persons with a wide range of sexualities, as there is no such a thing as a stable erotic identity, and everyone is to some degree queer in their inherent qualities of mind and character, even if not in their physical behavior.

The iconic figure of Tom of Finland serves as a platform to question the stereotypes of sexuality, gender and idealized body. To name few other participants: exhibition would also include collaborative work of American artist couple Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst. Last summer (2014), they hit a high point in their careers by being included in the Whitney Biennial.

Exhibition will bring in a juxtaposition between Tom of Finland’s works and Latvian artist Edgars Ozoliņš, whose photorealistic and overtly sexualized illustrations of teen novels from the 1960s – 1980s encouraged the soviet-time public discourse on sexuality. By illustrating a scandalous (and exceedingly homophobic) book on sex and marriage, the artist succeeded to, for the first time in soviet history, create a set of drawings depicting a vast variety of sexual postures.

With various invited speakers (among them German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, Latvian and foreign poets, theoreticians, historians) the synchronous talks will question the concepts behind the exhibition ideas through talks, presentations, and more.

kim? together with Berlin based Latvian curator Kaspars Vanags (curator of the Latvia’s National pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2015) and with support by Gary Everett (founder and current artistic director at Homotopia Liverpool and an official representative of Tom of Finland Foundation in Europe) is organizing the first art exhibition in Latvia dedicated to queer issues featuring new and recent art works from international and local contemporary artists as well as museum worthy display of Tom of Finland and Edgars Ozoliņš.

Exhibition shall open during EuroPride and run through 2nd August.

Latvia is the first country in the territory of former Soviet Union to host EuroPride. kim? Contemporary Art Centre’s mission is to support the development of emerging artists, theoreticians, curators, philosophers, translators and thinkers of other spheres aiming to provide a responsive context to their work and to make critical practices accessible to a wider audience. 


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