The name Touko Laaksonen might not mean anything to you but the Finnish artist’s alias "Tom of Finland" is synonymous the world over with the muscle-bound gay hunks in skin-tight denim that were the artist’s trademark.
This summer, Artists Space is hosting Tom of Finland: The Pleasure of Play, the first-ever comprehensive show of Finland’s work including collages, gouaches, and childhood drawings along with a cavalcade of the x-rated drawings that have made the artist a legend. Artists Space is also selling a custom Tom of Finland t-shirt by 2015 Paper beautiful people Eckhaus Latta. Laaksonen, who studied advertising and worked at the ad agency McCann Erickson until the '70s, was a fascinating character who bonded with another gay icon, Robert Mapplethorpe. It was the American photographer who helped Laaksonen get his first gallery show in America in 1980. Now nearly 25 years after his death, Tom of Finland is getting the retrospective treatment his legendary status demands.
Preview images from the show below, which is open June 14th through August 23rd.