Article in The Archive praises MOCA’s “marvellous” Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland exhibition

The Spring issue of The Archive, the journal of the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, contained an appreciative write-up of the Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland exhibition held at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) from November 2, 2013-January 26, 2014.

Front cover, The Archive (No. 49, Spring 2014)

Written by Hunter O’Hanian, Director of the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the article discussed both the MOCA exhibition and Art & Physique Circa Bob & Tom, a coinciding exhibition at the ONE Archives Gallery and Museum. O’Hanian’s article was titled “Pretty and Think: Two Exhibitions in LA Explore the Work of Tom of Finland, Bob Mizer, and Others”.

Praising the MOCA exhibition as “marvellous”, O’Hanian singled out “a few standouts among so many iconic and wonderful masterpieces” by Tom of Finland:

The works shown from The Tattooed Sailor series (1962) are so rich in their simplicity and creativity, as men mark and adorn each other in a loving manner. Sensual and sexy, they display the simple yet powerful affection men can show as they share something considered so taboo, yet ultimately harmless. Likewise, Tom’s Men – the depiction of 14 archetypical gay male figures lined up on either side of a shamelessly naked male figure, gave us a new look at a congregation of individuals. Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper immediately came to mind – however, in Tom’s gathering, there is no anguish, deceit or impending doom. Rather, the sole unifying principle is the camaraderie among likeminded but diverse individuals. (p. 11)

As O’Hanian stated: “Fans of Tom’s sexually explicit work depicting men from the leather, uniform, and fetish communities were not to be disappointed.”

Pretty and Think: Two Exhibitions in LA Explore the Work of Tom of Finland Bob Mizer and Others

The issue in which Hunter O’Hanian’s article appears (see pages 10-12) can be read online, and is available as both a PDF and on the Issuu digital publishing platform.


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