Most galleries are closed, but this great, bite-sized taster of Tom of Finland’s work and biography is open until mid-December.
Tom of Finland is the pseudonym of Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991), an artist whose stylised and highly masculine portraits and depictions of homoerotic encounters hold an important place in gay culture. This museum-style exhibition of 70 works focuses on his time in Germany.
Opening with his arrival in Hamburg in 1952, it documents his ascent from illustrating club flyers to internationally revered artist. Most works are the drawings you would expect: chisel-jawed, moustachioed and muscular young sailors, bikers, cowboys and policemen, all with bulging crotches, many in amorous embraces and states of undress. Anomalous among these are two comparatively non-sexual pencil portraits titled The Collectors, presumably showing his “most important patrons”, the couple Peter Daun and Harald Tangermann.
Other highlights are Finland’s personal photo albums showing his and his partner’s trips around Germany in the 1950s and photos of the now destroyed mural for a gay bathhouse in Hamburg. A little lacking in labels for artworks, but nonetheless a great bite-sized taster of Tom of Finland’s work and biography.
Tom of Finland Made in Germany | 12 September – 19 December 2020 | Galerie Judin