What are you doing on Tom of Finland Day?

*8th May

Wherever you are. Raise your glasses. Celebrate Tom’s Birthday.
Throw a happening. Hang out with friends. Hit a club.
Gather together. Invite all your friends. Hook up.

Make something special. Create your own event on Facebook and post the event or announcement on this page (also link to this event from your event).
Add photos. Add stories. Make a card. Show your pride. Take the party ’round the globe.

Tom was born Touko Valio Laaksonen on 8th May 1920, in Kaarina, southwest Finland. The Finnish word for the month of May is “Toukokuu”.

Hyvää syntymäpäivää Tom!





TOM OF FINLAND, Untitled (From “Camping”), 1976, Graphite on paper, 11 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches (29.8 x 21 cm), framed: 17 1/4 x 13 5/8 x 1 1/2 inches (43.8 x 34.6 x 3.8 cm)

David Kordansky Gallery shows a solo presentation of historic work by Tom of Finland in For Your Infotainment: Hudson and Feature Inc., a special section of Frieze New York 2018. Curated by Matthew Higgs, the section celebrates the legacy of the influential, maverick dealer Hudson (1950-2014) and the artists he showed at his gallery Feature Inc. in Chicago and New York. For Your Infotainment highlights Hudson’s uncompromising vision and commitment to personal aesthetic principles.

Hudson presented solo shows of Tom of Finland’s work in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was an early advocate for the exhibition of his drawings in a contemporary art context. This presentation will include works made in a variety of media, among them rare pen and ink pictures, highly detailed pencil renderings, and preparatory drawings that reflect both the artist’s virtuosic hand and the development of his thinking and passions.

Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920-1991) was one of the most influential creators of homoerotic imagery in the 20th century. His work can be approached along several interpretive lines, each of which points to the revolutionary nature of his project. He gave form to an imaginative universe that in turn helped fuel real-world liberation movements and enabled gay men to access their strength in new ways. And for people of all genders and orientations, his vision of pleasure reaffirms the centrality of sexuality and the body throughout human endeavor. Tom’s drawings therefore function, on the one hand, as joyful images of what true freedom looks like.

The physicality in the scenes Tom depicts finds a parallel in the beauty and sophistication of the drawings themselves. In this respect, his work can be seen as a major contribution to the development of figurative art and the representation of the male body. This presentation will enable viewers to see how his techniques evolved over time and according to the contexts for which they were being made. It includes works produced over a 45-year span (1944 to 1989); some are delicately shaded tableaux that would eventually appear in reproduction in underground publications, while others are faster, looser drawings that feel more private and less formal. In all cases, the works reveal Tom to be a master draftsman whose passion for both his medium and his subject matter enabled his project to become a powerful cultural force.


Tom of Finland is currently the subject of the solo exhibition, TOM House: The Work and Life of Tom of Finland, at Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, on view through 19th May.



“Echo Park” | 18th May | Hamburg

The new work of the Berlin artist Florian Hetz was created in the winter of 2018 during an artist residency at Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles. For three months Hetz portrayed the life and sexuality of gay men in the Echo Park district. He photographed his models in sessions lasting several hours and hundreds of photographs were taken. The extract of those are now on view in Germany for the first time.

Hetz deconstructs, dissects and sexualizes the bodies of his models. He mainly shows body fragments and details: trained physique, muscles, hair, faces and genitals fill the photos. Close ups of objects and plants complete the picture of a fragmented community, a community that has been repeatedly broken up by discrimination, violence and HIV. This community of gay men does not let anyone take away their yearning for beauty, closeness, fun and fusion, but fights for the right for a self-determined and joyful life.

Last year I contacted Florian and we decided to do a solo exhibition of his new work. Florian spent three months as artist-in-residence at Tom of Finland Foundation where, with his camera, he observed the life and sexuality of gay men in L.A. and returned with a series of amazing photographs that reflect his unique and explicit approach. –Frederik Busch

The exhibition is part of the satellite program of the Triennale der Photographie in Hamburg / Photo Triennale Hamburg and supported by the City of Hamburg Board of Culture and Media, and Tom of Finland Foundation.

Friday, 7p

On view through 10th June with
closing Artist Talk at 4p