Tom of Finland

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The World Erotic Art Museum in South Beach, Miami, is currently showing an exhibit of Tom of Finland. "The opening reception on April 14 drew 120 people," said museum owner Naomi Wilzig.

The show includes 17 original drawings and in various display cases 20 vintage magazine that were illustrated by Tom, whose real name was Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991).

Five decades of this prolific artist's work is represented and shows in chronological order (from Finnish Tango, 1947) the development of his techniques and the breadth of his subject matter, which has resulted in his art being accepted in the permanent collections of major museums (Museum of Modern Art in NY, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago). Curator Volker Morlock brings together original artwork: seven pieces from the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles, one from the the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, and his own private collection.

The works on display include some relatively sedate images, such as an untitled one from 1977 where a guy holding a camera looks up in awe at a guy on a pedestal imitating the famous pose of Michelangelo's David. Whether the guy on the pedestal is real or a statue is left up to the viewer's imagination, but like all of Tom's works his penis is of elephantine size.

 

Other drawings in the exhibit could be construed as either erotic or pornographic, depending on how the viewer perceives such things. The last work in the exhibit is dated 1987.

 

Both images in this article are copyright Tom of Finland Foundation and may not be copied or reproduced in any form.

 

The Erotic Art Museum on Washington Ave. in South Beach was opened in 2005 and can be visited by adults 7 days a week. Visit their webite for details: www.weam.com

 

Clifford Cunningham

Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist currently affiliated with the National Astronomical Research Institute. He did his PhD work in the history of astronomy at James Cook University, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. He is the author of 12 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honour by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in 1990.

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