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Tom of Finland Opens MIAMI BEACH GAY PRIDE Exhibition, 4/14-7/31

Related: Tom of Finland Foundation, Miami Beach Gay Pride

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TOM OF FINLAND – Male Masterworks exhibition opens on the weekend of Miami Beach Gay Pride with 20 original drawings and paintings focuses on artwork that greatly influences Gay culture by challenging oppressive stereotypes. The exhibition runs from April 14, 2012 to July 31, 2012. By depicting masculine men enjoying their sexuality free of shame, Tom of Finland has had an important effect on global culture. Harvey S. Shipley Miller of The Judith Rothschild Foundation stated that, "Tom of Finland was one of the five most influential artists of the last century; that influence transcended into the culture and became it."

Five decades of this prolific artist's work is represented and shows, in chronological order, the development of his techniques and the breadth of his subject matter. Also, as part of the exhibit, is a new video tribute to Tom of Finland and rare, vintage memorabilia.

Tom of Finland's artwork has been accepted into the Permanent Collections of major museums such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. Curator Volker Morlock brings together original artwork from Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF) in Los Angeles, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York and private collections, with many pieces shown to the public for the very first time.

Even with progress in Gay rights today, stereotyping continues in entertainment and media, proving that a discussion about the diversity of masculine and feminine role models is as relevant now, as ever. Tom of Finland's art continues to play an important role in promoting self-confidence, openness and a positive self-image in the Gay community.

Tom of Finland was born Touko Laaksonen in 1920 in the village of Kaarina, Finland. His parents were schoolteachers who fostered their children's interest in the arts. At the age of 19, Laaksonen enrolled in a correspondence course in advertising. At that time, and for his own personal enjoyment, he created his first homoerotic drawings.

In 1940, Laaksonen was drafted into the army and served for four years as a second lieutenant. After World War II, he moved to Helsinki, where he began to work for an advertising agency.

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