Celebrating queer male sexuality, Filth is a new exhibition from artist Ben Youdan, exploring gender identity, leather and fetish subculture. In his first show since his residency at Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles, Filth is a series of portraits embodying the joy and freedom of queer sex and sexual expression.
The exhibition has been twelve months in the making, with work beginning in LA. As part of its ambition to promote erotic art, the Tom of Finland Foundation hosts an artist-in-residency programme, allowing time to create, research and inspire new work. Youdan began to create the work for Filth while in TOM House from December 2018 to March 2019, researching Tom’s archive and work at the Foundation. Making connections with the Leather community of Los Angeles, Youdan exhibited a series of six mixed media portraits at the end of his residency. These works have developed into the new collection for the Liverpool exhibition.
The work is an exuberant celebration of male beauty, the male form and its erotic nature. The archetype of the Leatherman is obviously high in profile at TOM House but it’s one that often finds itself being derided or mocked in both popular culture and, sadly too often, the gay community itself. Preconceptions of masculinity harm both our sense of our own identity, our sexuality and our freedom to express ourselves.
This exhibition in Liverpool is a sex positive, unashamedly celebratory show. Eroticism doesn’t need censorship, is it something to be championed.
On view through 12th January 2020
[Every day except Monday, 12-4p, until 23rd December, then open again 2nd – 12th January.]
Ben Youdan is a Liverpool-based artist whose mixed media portraits adorn the walls of galleries and private collections alike. Tackling celebrity, sexuality and gender, his colourful and eye-catching portraits are filled with a dual narrative, poking fun at hypocrisy, doublespeak and the mixed messaging that fuels popular culture.
New queer exhibition ‘Filth’ opens at @GalleryLpool this weekend, as the Tom of Finland Foundation’s former artist-in-residence Ben Youdan explores gender identity, leather and fetish subculture – go check it out! 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/IRaSz9nA2B
— Attitude (@AttitudeMag) December 6, 2019
PHOTOS FROM VERNISSAGE
Durk Dehner interviews Winter 2018-2019 artist-in-residence Ben Youdan about his time spent at TOM House.