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Tom of Finland, Untitled, 1977, graphite on paper, 17 1/2 × 21 1/4". © Tom of Finland Foundation.

Tom of Finland

Artists Space Exhibitions

Tom of Finland, Untitled, 1977, graphite on paper, 17 1/2 × 21 1/4". © Tom of Finland Foundation.

THE ARTISTS SPACE SHOW “Tom of Finland: The Pleasure of Play” presented more than half a century of the artist’s drawings, gouaches, paper dolls, and photocollages made from advertising imagery; together, they set up a narrative described as existing in “dialectical relationship” to a mainstream culture in which both pornography and homosexuality were illegal. And indeed, throughout his career as an advertising executive in Helsinki, Touko Laaksonen (1920–1991) contributed to the ever-expanding lexicon of images representing straight family life in postwar Europe. But after hours, he cut up and collaged these images as studies for the drawings through which he would invent an equally coded language for a masculinity defined by smiling sadomasochistic play and eighteen-inch cocks. The collages, which the artist made from the mid-1960s until his death and are far rougher than the

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