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Tom of Finland Arts and Culture Festival


Tom of Finland Arts and Culture Festival

October 1 -2, 2016

Shortly after Taschen Books published their gargantuan collection of Tom of Finland’s best work, the Museum of Contemporary Art featured TOF in a major exhibition, effectively bringing his brown paper bagged portraits of male nudes out from porn shops, where the works had always lived. The MOCA exhibit was the first time an American museum mounted a show that showed men mounting each other. When Rizzoli’s TOM HOUSE, published, I went to the David Kordansky Gallery for the book signing party. Kordansky is now selling original works of the Finnish, master-illustrator, for six figure sums. Clearly, TOF has arrived as potent force on the international art scene. Two films, a documentary and a narrative feature are in post production. MOCA’S TOF presentation and the Getty’s companion Mapplethorpe show with LACMA, are break through exhibitions that mirror the Tom Of Finland Foundation’s raison d’être: fighting sex phobia in the art world, and by extension, in the world at large.

This year marks the 21st annual Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival, and its taking over the entire landmark property, called TOM HOUSE, where Tom of Finland Foundation has operated since 1984. The Festival is one of the key public events initiated and run by the Foundation, and serves as a platform to further its mission of preserving, protecting and promoting erotic art. This year’s program will focus on art and printed matter, with special guests that include artists and independent brands that specialize in printmaking across various mediums within gay culture.

The Festival will encompass works by more than 30 artists, literati and independent brands, both emerging and established, from all over the world. This is one sexy, well hung show. It’s always been daring and fun. Some of the best work have a wild, fierce intensity. Along with art for sale by their makers, an array of entertainment and activities over the course of the two dates are planned. Visitors will also have the opportunity to tour TOM House, including the attic space that served as Tom of Finland’s bedroom and studio.

Durk Dehner, President of the TOF foundation believes that, “art and books have brought beauty into our lives and introduced audiences to the vast span of the wonders of the creative world. The Foundation, with its library and archives, celebrates both artist and publisher at our Festival this year with a sumptuous representation of both.”

Galleries include: Please Do Not Enter, Rick Castro/Antebellum, Round Hole Square Peg/AC Gallery   and Ruben Esparza Curatorial.  Some of the artists represented are: Alton DuLaney, Boston Elements,  Gio Black Peter, Homo Riot, Jeremy Lucida, Lockwood 51, Michael Kirwan, Miguel Angel Reyes, Mei Xian Qiu, Pansy Ass, Starrfucker, Valentine and Van Jazmin. There will be music by RocketManLA.

The fair will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am – 6 PM. And there is a Saturday fashion show and party from 6 -11pm. TOM HOUSE is located at 1421 Laveta Terrace, Los Angeles (Echo Park). Visit Eventbrite for tickets or the Foundation for more information. HERE

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Phil Tarley

About Phil Tarley

Phil Tarley is a fellow of the American Film Institute, an artist member of the Los Angeles Art Association and writes about contemporary art, pop culture and photography for Fabrik Magazine. He curates at the A C Gallery in Los Angeles and founded Round Hole Square Peg, a biannual, international survey of LGBTQ photography shown at the Photo LA. Tarley is also a critical essayist for Katharine T. Carter & Associates, an art advisory service that  helps artists obtain museum exhibitions. His personal series of political and ethnographic videos is housed in the permanent collection of the New York Public Library and has screened in film festivals and museums like the American Film Institute,and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In 2009, under his nom de porn, Phil St. John, Tarley was inducted into the Gay Porn Hall of Fame for his 20-year producing and directing career. His writing and photography have also appeared in the LA Times, the LA Weekly, The WOW Report, Adventure Journal, the Advocate, Frontiers, Adult Video News, Genre, Instinct and American Photo Magazine. His book, Going down On Cuba: Notes from An Underground Traveler,  is slated to be published later in the year by Fabrik Press.  

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