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TOM OF FINLAND is regarded as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. By using masculine archetypes from straight homophobic culture – sturdy bikers, hoodlums, lumberjacks, cops, cowboys, and sailors – and skillfully recasting them as enthusiasts of gay sex, he helped emancipate gay culture. His impact on gay pop culture and fashion is undeniable and the growing appreciation for him in recent years has been visualized in a number of ways – from a historic release of Tom of Finland stamps, to the first major exhibition devoted to TOM’s work at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles last year. This year, the Artists Space in New York will mount the largest exhibition of his work in the US, while in 2016, a biopic on the artist will hit international silver screens.

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And now, TOM’s iconic visual language has been fused with Rufskin’s sexy, masculine, futuristic and well crafted menswear in a collection that features Rufskin’s signature ultra-sexual aesthetic together with designs inspired by the work of legendary artist.

Head designer Hubert Pouches wanted to pay homage to the groundbreaking artist while simultaneously introducing him to a new generation of devotees.

What better location to capture the brawny exclusive athletic apparel collection, than the hallowed grounds of the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles – the em-body-ment of the dynamic collaboration?

The collection is available at Rufskin.com. in Rufskin’s San Diego, New York, Miami and Amsterdam stores, and through select partners.

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“Tom of Finland: The Pleasure of Play” Comes to NYC’s Artists Space

Twenty-five years after his death, Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, 1920–1991) will receive his first comprehensive survey at NYC’s Artists Space. The exhibition will include more than 140 drawings, rarely seen gouaches from the 1940s, over 600 pages of collages, and his early childhood drawings.

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Tom's Finnish Tango, 1947, Gouache on paper, 11.38” x 8.13”, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection, © 1947 Tom of Finland Foundation

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Tom’s Finnish Tango, 1947, Gouache on paper, 11.38” x 8.13”, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection, © 1947 Tom of Finland Foundation

Tom of Finland: The Pleasure of Play is being touted as the “first exhibition to examine, analyze and present the historic role that his art plays in addressing and transgressing stereotypes of gender, sexuality, race, class and power relations.” Tom, of course, is the iconic gay Finnish artist whose work brought a machismo to the representation of gay men.

His work was a little bit sexy, too.

Tom studied advertising in Helsinki, but was soon drafted to join the Finnish Army in its fight against the Soviet invasion. After the war, Laaksonen worked as art director at McCann Erickson, a job he quit in 1973 in order to commit himself fully to his art. His international career was jump started in 1957 in LA through his ongoing contributions to Bob Mizer’s Physique Pictorial. Tom later entered into a friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe, whom he met in 1978 in San Francisco and who helped him in 1980 to realize his first gallery exhibition in New York. In the late ’70s, on one of his frequent visits to the US, he met Durk Dehner, with whom he founded the Tom of Finland Foundation in 1984, based in Echo Park, LA.

Tom of Finland: The Pleasure of Play will run from June 14 to August 23. Founded in 1972 in downtown New York, Artists Space has for four decades successfully contributed to changing the landscape for contemporary art – lending support to emerging artists and emerging ideas alike.

If you need your Tom of Finland fix early, climb into Rufskin’s collection featuring his work.

MetroSource

 

 

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