Dear Tom Foundation,
Please forward this letter to your artists.
THIS HAPPENED TO ME.
I found one of my paintings being copied and sold on EBay. I contacted EBay about this fraud that was coming out of China. I also saw several other gay artists that are members of the TOF Gallery whose work is being copied and sold by this dealer.
If enough artists report this fraud the seller will be dropped from EBay.
If you go to EBay and put “Hand oil painting nude male art on canvas” in the search you will find them.
To report this fraud:
Find your painting and copy the item #.
Go to the bottom of EBay’s home page and click on Policies.
Click on “How do I report a listing violation?”
Click on “Report listing”
Inter the item # and continue.
STOP THIS FRAUD!
The man who invented the macho gay image could be the hero of 2011′s European city of culture.
Finland’s cultural gifts to the world include Sibelius, the Moomins and an artist that the country has been less eager to celebrate. The name Touko Laaksonen may not be immediately familiar; and unless you are acquainted with homoerotic art, his alter ego Tom of Finland may not mean much either. But you have almost certainly seen the style he created: a pantheon of bikers, leather-men, lumberjacks and rodeo stars that defined the macho-gay image of the 1970s.
Born in 1920, Tom came from Turku, this year’s European Capital of Culture. Only the fifth-largest city in Finland, Turku has a well-preserved castle, the country’s oldest cathedral and a museum containing Sibelius’s final, half-smoked cigar. But it is hardly so culture-rich as to be able to ignore the region’s most internationally recognised artist.
A self-taught draughtsman, Laaksonen’s earliest homoerotic drawings were inspired by his service in the Finnish armed forces. After the war, he worked in advertising, but another career arrived in 1956 when the American publication Physique Pictorial – a bodybuilding magazine serving a predominately gay audience – published Laaksonen’s drawing of an Adonis-like lumberjack on the cover. The editors credited the work to “Tom of Finland”, a pseudonym Laaksonen was never entirely happy with, though American “beefcake” magazines became the major outlet for his work. In 1973, he was able to move to California and live exclusively from sales of erotic pictures.
Although the Museum of Modern Art in New York contains examples of Tom’s work, and he has been shown at the Venice Biennale, the Finns have been slow to embrace him. This may not seem so surprising given that homosexuality was illegal in Finland until 1971, and same-sex partnerships were sanctioned only in 2002. Even today, the country isn’t noted for tolerance: last July, a Gay Pride march in Helsinki became the target of a gas attack.
The artistic director of Turku 2011, Suvi Innilä, admits that showing Tom was a controversial choice. “At first, I was not sure if you could include such images in a mainstream arts festival,” she says. “But then when I saw the quality of the original drawings on paper, there could be no doubt. He is, without question, the most significant and influential artist to come from this region. The idea of having a cultural year in Turku without him was unthinkable.”
Tom’s homecoming has been facilitated by the Liverpool-based arts organisation Homotopia, which mounted the first UK showing of his work, and expanded with contributions from the Tom of Finland Foundation in LA. Although Tom published his work in America, the illustrations explore a distinctively Scandinavian milieu – the Finnish cultural cornerstones of the sauna and the sausage stand feature prominently. Yet despite the explicit content of some of the images, this retrospective has not been hidden under the counter. It runs for a full year at Logomo, a new space that forms the focal point of the Turku 2011 celebrations. More than 50,000 people are expected to visit; in the experience of curator Gary Everett, fewer than half of them are likely to be gay.
“When we first showed Tom in Liverpool, 55% of the audience were straight women,” Everett says. “I think Tom can be quite liberating for women because it gives them the chance to see men objectified in a way that women have been objectified for centuries.”
So is it art or is it porn? Durk Dehner, founder of the Tom of Finland Foundation and a close friend of the artist, insists it can be both. “Tom is a unique case in that he is simultaneously found in mainstream galleries and adult bookstores. The vast majority of his output was masturbatory material to be kept under the bed, yet it also comes packaged in coffee-table volumes for open display.”
The drawings in the exhibition are modest in scale and mostly executed in pencil. They show Laaksonen to be a naturally gifted draughtsman who deliberately limited his range. Yet he arrived at a style that was instantly recognisable. Simply put, without Tom of Finland, there would have been no Village People.
“Tom created a kind of sexual Valhalla of Scandinavian gods which became a fantasy boot camp for the founders of the gay rights movement,” Dehner says. “Before Tom, gay men were seen as effeminate sissies. He was the first person to show gay men as macho, proud and assertive.”
Towards the end of Tom’s life, the drawings took on a darker hue: the sex becomes more joyless and a new addition appeared – the condom. “There’s a deep sorrow in the later pieces,” Dehner says. “After the spread of Aids, Tom experienced a huge burden of guilt. He had given people confidence to go out and explore their sexuality and he began to wonder if he was partly responsible for sending all those young men to their deaths.”
Yet 20 years after his death, the artist’s influence seems stronger than ever. “If you’ve ever bought a pair of Calvin Klein briefs, looked at a Levi’s ad or seen Freddie Mercury perform, you’ve experienced Tom of Finland,” Dehner says. “He’s unavoidable. In a sense, we are all Tom’s men now.”
Regrettably, the video can only be viewed within the US
Click to view the Video
LA Leather Season is here…!!!
As last year ToFF is donating beautiful Tom of Finland memorabilia to the Mr. LA Leather Season and this year the ToFF is nominated in three categories at the South Land Honors Awards in conjunction to the Mr. L.A. Leather weekend.
Durk Dehner is nominated for “Mentor of the Year”.
The Foundation is nominated for “Club/Organization of the Year”.
Tom’s Bar is nominated for ” Event of the year”
The ToFF support of last years Mr. L.A. Leather Class 2010 has brought out this recognition on all the work the Foundation did all of last year with the Mr LA Leather Season and The Los Angeles Band of Brothers.
This year we look forward to be part of Leather Season once more, we have created the packages that will be donated and given at each contest as they take place from now till Mr LAL Weekend and South Land Honors on the weekend of March 25th & 26th
The night of the SLH Awards is the night of the 25th of March and you can get info by visiting the link below:
Mr LAL Contest is the night of the 26th of March and you can get further info by visiting the link below:
here you can see a couple of pics of the packages been donated by the Foundation to the Mr LAL Class of 2011
Love & Peace in Brotherhood
Louie Pacheco Saenz
President, Los Angeles Band of Brothers
American Leatherman 2010
Mr CSW Leather 2010 & 2011
Using the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts’ “decency clause,” National Coalition Against Censorship initiated a conversation about the arts and their place in society today. Two panels, organized in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, brought together survivors of the culture wars and culture workers who are coming to creative maturity today. The story went like this: once upon a time artists and arts organizations could depend on government grants that gave them room to experiment and explore ideas, perhaps even to try and change the world, but public arts funding was relentlessly attacked.
Conservative legislators crucified the work of controversial artists on the Senate floor, and the NEA was forced to become an agency funding mainly “safe” programs. The good news is artists today still believe they are changing the world and they still create work that questions certainties (albeit with the awareness that it may be attacked, even censored). They no longer, however, have public funding as an option, and institutions that depend on public funding are all too much aware of the strings attached. As the “decency” clause targeted primarily work dealing with sexuality, the live events concluded with a screening and discussion of films challenging taboos around the representation of sex (co-sponsored by the BFA Department of Visual & Critical Studies at the School of Visual Arts). The conversation continues online through an ongoing series of video interviews with artists and curators worldwide, Power, Taboo and the Artist.
[In 1990, Congress amended the statute governing the National Endowment for the Arts to require that the NEA chairperson consider "general standards of respect and decency for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public" when awarding art grants. Four artists—Karen Finley, John Fleck, Holly Hughes and Tim Miller, known collectively as the "NEA 4"—sued in federal court, claiming the so-called "decency clause" violated the First Amendment and forced artists to engage in self-censorship in order to obtain NEA funding.
The Supreme Court, in 1998, upheld the "decency" standard for federal grants to the arts, which requires the NEA to take into account "general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public" when making grants. But the 8 to 1 decision held that the "decency" standard is only advisory, and cannot be used to censor controversial art or ideas. Justice Souter, the lone dissenter, said the "decency" clause violates the First Amendment: "A statute disfavoring speech that fails to respect Americans' diverse beliefs and values' is the very model of viewpoint discrimination.]
Do you, or someone you know, operate a catering business that’s hungry for some good exposure?
As we prepare for the opening night gala for the 16th annual West Hollywood / Los Angeles Erotic Art Weekend on March 25, we are searching for someone willing to help provide hors d’oeuvres for this fun and exciting event.
Guests will include delegates from the Finish Consulate, members of the West Hollywood and Los Angeles’ city councils, as well as, gallery owners, professional and aspiring artists, and members of the general public. This is a fantastic opportunity to promote a new business or gain some great publicity for an established one.
Please respond here, or contact Bo at 760 672 3923.