John Wolf Fine Art is both humbled and pleased to present Secret Gay Box with Tom of Finland Foundation. This show at TOM House is not only incredibly personal to the curator, John Wolf, but also speaks to the secrecy of Tom of Finland’s early career in which homophobic censorship codes kept the artist’s work out of circulation.
John Wolf was raised in an Evangelical Christian home where Homosexuality was viewed as a sin and flaw, and consequently as a child he kept a secret box from his parents. The ability to have a private world, and to collect, is ultimately what led Wolf to art world.
Collecting is a form of self-expression and identity. It not only affirms what you think and feel, but can also challenge your beliefs every time you see the object. This idea is clearly seen within the walls of TOM House, as the artist, his legacy and identity are preserved even after his passing. The Foundation resides within Tom’s home, a place of refuge and creativity for the artist, and an emblem of the Gay community. At a time when staying quiet or closeted was the norm, Tom of Finland was a voice, and image, of a different path.
Secret Gay Box features over 15 artists who have navigated their sexuality through artistic expression. Like Wolf’s childhood box, this space will be one where art hides in plain sight, even where people might not think to look. The space itself as well as the artworks in it embrace the creativity that it can take to effectively conceal oneself, but also the beauty that can occur in freedom from whatever ‘box’ one might have. All humans have their own “secret gay box”, either conscious or subconscious. This show, the artists represented, and the act of creating a personal art collection are a way to simultaneously fill the box or open it for those around you.
Artists in the exhibition:
Patrick Angus, Paul Cadmus, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Alton DuLaney, Hossein Edalatkhah, Don Joint, Joseph La Piana, Matthew Leifheit, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jose Gonzalo Garcia Munoz, Justin Olerud, Nathan Ritterpusch, Stuart Sandford, and Andy Warhol.
Curated by: John Wolf
We invite you to explore this show as a fluctuating document expressing a single moment in the history of a boy’s sexuality, and the expansive history of queerness embodied in a menagerie of artistic objects.
On view through 17th November by appointment
Located at the Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument where Tom of Finland Foundation has operated since 1984.
The Festival is one of the key public events initiated and run by the Foundation, and serves as a platform in furthering its mission to preserve, protect and promote erotic art. To celebrate the release of the book, My Gay Eye, this year’s programming will focus on the purposeful commitment of collecting art.
My Gay Eye (Mein schwules Auge) is a special Tom of Finland Foundation edition. Artists from its pages will be represented at the Festival with works available for sale including: Rubén Esparza Curatorial showing Marcel Alcala, JT Bruns, Amina Cruz, Cleonette Harris, Homo Riot, Peter Kalisch, Naruki Kukita, Matt Lambert, Santy Mito, Slava Mogutin, Sad Boy, Gio Black Peter, Oliver Sarley, and Phil Tarley with performance by Jon Vaz Gar. Rick Castro’s Dungeon will feature John Blackburn, Sierra Domino, Paul Mahler and Joel-Peter Witkin.
“What better way to say ‘thank you’ to an artist than investing in his vision? A review in a magazine, or a comment left, is definitely a way to show support – but to buy something by them is the ultimate way of acknowledging them. At the Festival you find what represents you, and you then get to share the artwork in your home with your friends – the gratitude is circulated.” – Durk Dehner, president and cofounder, Tom of Finland Foundation.
Special guest artist, photographer, poet and Russian dissident, Slava Mogutin, who will read and be on hand to sign books. Steven Reigns, poet and educator, has invited notables to share their written words on Saturday, including author Clint Catalyst and performance artist Ron Athey.
TOM House will preview Secret Gay Box curated by John Wolf; the show is an expansive history of Queerness embodied in a menagerie of objects from across time. The works within are by Brian Andrew, Patrick Angus, Paul Cadmus, Hossein Edalatkhah, Don Joint, Mike Kuchar, Joseph La Piana, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jose Gonzalo Garcia Munoz, Justin Olerud, Stuart Sandford, Matt Siegle, Andy Warhol, and David Wojnarowicz.
Drawings by Silvia Prada from her recently released artist book, TOM, developed in collaboration with Tom of Finland Foundation will be on view. A series of photographs by Daniel Trese taken at the Foundation in 2014 will be showcased in conjunction with his exhibition Surface Streets at Tom of Finland Store. Los Angeles’ Lethal Amounts has always focused on subversive and counter culture these. In their booth, they showcase their collaborations with artists and musicians. Jeremy Lucido, photographer, publishes Starrfucker and features zines as art. A live auction on Sunday will allow attendees to bid on classic Homoerotica.
Eye on Collecting features over 60 Queer artists including Seth Bogart, Hector Silva, and the late Michael Kirwan. Resident artist Phuc Le will display his photography. Miguel Angel Reyes directs the life drawing sessions and will preview his upcoming exhibition at TOM House as will Jess Scott and Stefan Pinto. Josh Paul Thomas’ photography is the cover for My Gay Eye and he works across multiple mediums.
Saturday night’s screenings are the time-honored Born to Raise Hell (1974) introduced by writer and director, Roger Earl. The film has been the standard by which all gay SM films are judged around the world. Earl received the Tom of Finland Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. Following are a new collection of shorts by Bruce LaBruce, It is Not the Pornographer That is Perverse (2018).
Not only are visitors to the Festival offered food and beverages throughout the day, they can get their footgear shined and benefit from expert hair and facial grooming.
Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival: Eye on Collecting takes place at Tom of Finland House (TOM House), 1421 Laveta Terrace, Los Angeles (Echo Park) on October 6-7, 2018.
TOM House is the site where the artist and gay hero Tom of Finland lived and worked for the last and most prolific decade of his life, and where he fully lived what he drew. Marked by artists and a community that disarms shame and judgment, TOM House has been and continues to be a gathering place that promotes his message of being free and happy, embodied in respect and acceptance.
Food and Drink Available