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Tom House: Tom of Finland in Los Angeles

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An immersive glimpse into the private, domestic world of one of the twentieth century’s most revolutionary artists. Nestled in a leafy, residential section of Los Angeles is the house where Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, 1920–1991) lived and worked during the last decade of his life. It is an extraordinary place—part shrine, part haven, part art-historical archive, and p An immersive glimpse into the private, domestic world of one of the twentieth century’s most revolutionary artists. Nestled in a leafy, residential section of Los Angeles is the house where Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, 1920–1991) lived and worked during the last decade of his life. It is an extraordinary place—part shrine, part haven, part art-historical archive, and part utopian collective. Still occupied by the men who resided there with Tom and dedicated themselves to preserving his legacy, the house serves as a living tribute to the artist’s astonishing oeuvre and his radical vision of unapologetic homoerotic sexuality. Offered to the reader as an intimate view of the man behind the hypermasculine imagery, the book moves from art-filled room to art-filled room, dining room to dungeon. Almost every surface of the house is covered in work made by Tom himself, or by those he influenced and inspired. For additional insight, Martyn Thompson’s revelatory photographs are paired with rarely seen preparatory sketches and unfinished drawings. Together, the compelling images place Tom’s work in an entirely new light, inviting readers to explore a hidden world of dreams and desire—the world of Tom of Finland.


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An immersive glimpse into the private, domestic world of one of the twentieth century’s most revolutionary artists. Nestled in a leafy, residential section of Los Angeles is the house where Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, 1920–1991) lived and worked during the last decade of his life. It is an extraordinary place—part shrine, part haven, part art-historical archive, and p An immersive glimpse into the private, domestic world of one of the twentieth century’s most revolutionary artists. Nestled in a leafy, residential section of Los Angeles is the house where Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, 1920–1991) lived and worked during the last decade of his life. It is an extraordinary place—part shrine, part haven, part art-historical archive, and part utopian collective. Still occupied by the men who resided there with Tom and dedicated themselves to preserving his legacy, the house serves as a living tribute to the artist’s astonishing oeuvre and his radical vision of unapologetic homoerotic sexuality. Offered to the reader as an intimate view of the man behind the hypermasculine imagery, the book moves from art-filled room to art-filled room, dining room to dungeon. Almost every surface of the house is covered in work made by Tom himself, or by those he influenced and inspired. For additional insight, Martyn Thompson’s revelatory photographs are paired with rarely seen preparatory sketches and unfinished drawings. Together, the compelling images place Tom’s work in an entirely new light, inviting readers to explore a hidden world of dreams and desire—the world of Tom of Finland.

17 review for Tom House: Tom of Finland in Los Angeles

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ereck

    An aesthetically and culturally important document, consisting mostly of gorgeous photos by Martyn Thompson and dynamic "preparatory drawings" by Tom of Finland. Mayer Rus's forward begins to address and undress the book's purpose, but only just begins, leaving the project as a whole -- its impact-- incomplete, vague, blue-balled. I full-throatedly affirm David Kordansky's assessment-- quoted by Rus-- that Tom of Finland (and, I would add, the Tom of Finland Foundation as well) "has not yet been s An aesthetically and culturally important document, consisting mostly of gorgeous photos by Martyn Thompson and dynamic "preparatory drawings" by Tom of Finland. Mayer Rus's forward begins to address and undress the book's purpose, but only just begins, leaving the project as a whole -- its impact-- incomplete, vague, blue-balled. I full-throatedly affirm David Kordansky's assessment-- quoted by Rus-- that Tom of Finland (and, I would add, the Tom of Finland Foundation as well) "has not yet been subjected to the kind of criticality and scholarship that it merits. It's so much more than a garnish for West Hollywood coffee tables." So, I regret that this book doesn't better engage such criticality-- better develop the ideas, history, and cultural significance illuminated through its stunning pictures. Key contributions by Durk Dehner appear almost as afterthoughts, easily overlooked among the artists' credits at the book's end. Why not situate Durk Dehner more prominently within Tom House? Or foreground the fraternity and sociality enabled by Tom House? Or, to get in tight, why no commentary, no matter how brief, on the house's library which appears here and there throughout Thompson's photos? (Why the collection of Wodehouse?!? Who arranges these books?) Or, alternately, what does it mean to reside in such a house as this, then or now? For any of these issues, more archival, critical, or oral historical material could do the trick. Is this publication actually about Durk Dehner, a well-deserved paean to him? Bring it on, then! Make the suppressed intent, the subtext, explicit. Celebrate Durk with a bit more of the directness so integral to Tom of Finland's work and the radical fantastic sexual force it both captures and unleashes. I am thrilled, but I want something more, broader, deeper.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A great coffee table book - although we have kept it off our coffee table as there are certain discussions I am not quite ready to have with my 4 year old. I loved the pictures and the house and all of the drawings by Tom as well as the other decorative/artistic touches. As a quilter I loved the quilt shown towards the end! Also I love that I got the book at the public library!

  3. 4 out of 5

    James

  4. 5 out of 5

    Benny

  5. 5 out of 5

    Salome

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sergio Caredda

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paolo

  9. 5 out of 5

    58675860

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matt Smith

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Greer

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ashbeearchives

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  15. 4 out of 5

    Proud Scholars

  16. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Karukoski

  17. 4 out of 5

    Scot Maitland

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