Though not everyone knows the name Touko Valio Laaksonen, his pseudonym Tom of Finland is, to many, instantly recognizable. The Finnish artist earned his fame for his massive influence to gay culture, specifically for his specialized, highly-masculine, erotic art. Now in collaboration with El Club, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit will be hosting a viewing of the film "Tom of Finland" on April 22 at 4 p.m.
Directed by Dome Karukoski, the film follows Laaksonen's early life from the beginning of his artistic career, to his stardom. The Finnish film is also the recipient of the Best Pitch Prize at the 2016 Finnish Film Affair festival and a 2017 Fipresci Award-winner.
After the film, MOCAD will host a Q&A session with the exhibition's curators Durk Dehner, Sharp and Graeme Flegenheimer, allowing audience members to examine it detail.
This event is sponsored also by Equality Michigan, and features mature content.
April 19-May 19
In collaboration with Tom of Finland Foundation, Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead will realize TOM House: The Work and Life of Tom of Finland. The exhibition will feature work by Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920-1991) and incorporate artists who supported and admired his work over the years, including Richard Hawkins, Robert Mapplethorpe, Raymond Pettibon, Jim Shaw, and John Waters. The presentation will also include photographs, reference materials, and ephemera.
Tom of Finland's drawings – remarkable not only for their masterful rendering, but also their fantastical representation of the male form – have been long celebrated for their radical role in broadening the popular understanding of Queer experience in art. Placed in context with his peers, the assemblage of these artworks engages a sensational narrative, one that helped define a generation.
This exhibition and associated public programs deal with mature themes. Adults visiting with youth must preview before entering exhibition or program.
These events will be hosted at MOCAD which is located at 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit. More information can be found online at mocadetroit.org.