Artist Richard Hawkins tours Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland, the first American museum exhibition devoted to the art of Mizer (1922-1992) and Touko Laaksonen, a.k.a. “Tom of Finland” (1920-1991), at MOCA Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. Hawkins, who guest co-curated the exhibition with MOCA Curator Bennett Simpson, examines selections from the first-ever presentation of catalogue boards of Mizer’s Athletic Model Guild studios, which to him are enthusiastic celebrations of everyday youth and beauty, as well as Tom of Finland’s pencil drawings and pen-and-ink illustrations of radical sexuality.
In light of the sexual freedoms still denied in Russia, “…that even though I know that I enjoy certain freedoms in this day, that I’d always known that Tom and Bob didn’t have those same freedoms, but it really hit home that it’s not the same everywhere and or in different times.
…we had done the right thing. That we had completed an exhibition that was both titillating and thrilling and as sex-positive as Tom and Bob would have wanted it to be.”
Richard Hawkins (b. 1961, Mexia Texas) is an artist and writer living in Los Angeles. He is represented by Corvi-Mora, London; Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin and Koln; Greene-Naftali, New York and Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles. His first book of fiction, “Fragile Flowers”, was released by Les Presses du Reel in Fall 2013. In October 2013, he premiered his first solo French museum presentation, “glimmer”, at Le Consortium Dijon and in 2012 he was a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy, Berlin. Upcoming, Hawkins’s butoh-inspired collages will be the focus of a solo exhibition at Tate Liverpool, “Hijikata Twist”, curated by Darren Pih. His research into the Los Angeles painter Tony Greene will be shown at the 2014 Whitney Biennial in an exhibition co-curated with Catherine Opie.
Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland. Organized by MOCA Curator Bennett Simpson and Guest Co-Curator Richard Hawkins. MOCA Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069. Through January 26, 2014.