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