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Tom Of Finland: Male Masterworks on View

by Sheri Elfman
Tuesday Apr 17, 2012

Definitive Collection to Open at Miami Beach's World Erotic Art Museum

Tom of Finland, born Touko Laaksone in Kaarina, Finland, who came to be known throughout the international art world for his extraordinary homoerotic drawings depicting men at ease and equally at play, will be the subject of a major exhibit, TOM OF FINLAND: MALE MASTERWORKS, opening Saturday, April 14, at 8 p.m. at Naomi Wilzig's World Erotic Art Museum.

Art collector Volker Morlock, who has been involved with the Tom of Finland Foundation since 1991, editor of the anthology, "Tom of Finland Retrospective 111," and consultant for Taschen Publishing on the books "Quaintance" and "Tom of Finland XXL," will be special guest speaker at the opening night reception. Norlock has curated the exhibit's original artwork which illustrates the broadening of Finland's techniques and subject matter through five decades of his prolific work.

Opening on the weekend of Miami Beach Gay Pride, the exhibit focuses on artwork that greatly influenced gay culture by challenging oppressive stereotypes. By depicting masculine men enjoying their sexuality free of shame, Tom of Finland had more of an effect on global culture than many other 20th Century artists.

Raised in a farm country that was still rough and wild, Finland who came from a family of school teachers and studied art in Helsinki, was drawn to the muscular frontiersmen who became the inspiration for his drawings. It was following his release from the army after World War II that Touko was urged by advertising colleagues to submit his drawings to the American body building magazine, Physique Pictorial. The 1957 cover story of a laughing lumberjack became a sensation establishing his name as "Tom of Finland."

With his work generating invitations to exhibit in museums and galleries worldwide, in 1979, Finland founded the Tom of Finland Company with his friend Durk Dehner, owner of several paintings which will also be on view at WEAM. Five years later the Tom of Finland Foundation was founded as a non-profit educational archive to preserve, restore and exhibit erotic art. Today, following major exhibitions throughout the world, for sheer homoeroticism, the finely detailed body of work of Tom of Finland for which he became famous, will never be surpassed.

The World Erotic Art Museum is located at 1205 Washington Avenue. Open Monday thru Thursday, 11 A.M.-10 P.M.; Friday and Saturday, 11 A.M. to Midnight. Tickets are $15, no one under18 admitted. Further information is available by calling 305-532-9336; or via Weam.com

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