I WON'T BITE
curated by Brooke Wise for Tom of Finland Foundation
Feb 13 - 16, 2020
Opening reception: Feb 13, 8-11PM
In collaboration with Frieze LA, Brooke Wise has curated I Won’t Bite, a group show celebrating Tom of Finland’s centennial year, with work by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Seth Bogart, Petra Cortright, Vaginal Davis, Danny Fox, Simon Haas, William E. Jones, Mike Kelley, Robert Mapplethorpe, Raymond Pettibon, Torbjørn Rødland, Jim Shaw, Gus Van Sant, John Waters, Austyn Weiner and Chloe Wise. Proceeds of the show will go to Tom of Finland Foundation, founded by the artist and his partner Durk Dehner. The Foundation was established in 1984 and is home to one of the largest collections of erotic art in the world. All work exhibited is by both Tom’s personal friends and allies. Tom’s legacy has paved the way for countless artists, and still encourages the production of sexually liberating works and celebrates all members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The opening reception will include a musical performance by Dirty Projectors and an art performance by collective FlucT. A private dinner will be curated and hosted by Andy Baraghani of Bon Appétit Magazine.
Brooke Wise is an independent curator based in Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY. Originally from Montreal, QC, Wise curates for galleries internationally and produces a yearly film festival called Aloha from Hell. Recent projects include, Aloha From Hell 3 (partnered with Comedy Central and Sexy Beast for Planned Parenthood), Vista Theatre, Los Angeles, CA (2019), A Cat’s Meow, Shrine and Sargent’s Daughters, NYC (2019), and King Dogs Never Grow Old, Diane Rosentein Gallery, LA, (2020).
Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920-1991) is widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists for his groundbreaking representation of the male figure. In his youth Tom trained at an advertising school, but what he would come to call his “dirty drawings,” which he first began developing as a teenager, were the true focus of his attention, both during this formative period and throughout the entirety of his life. These masterful renderings of virile men engrossed in acts of homoerotic desire can be approached along several interpretive lines––art historical, social, technical––but each of them points to the revolutionary nature of his project. Tom gave form to an imaginative universe that in turn helped fuel real-world liberation movements and enabled gay men to access their strength in new ways. The work of a master draftsman, whose passion for both his medium and his subject matter enabled him to become a powerful cultural force, Tom's drawings reaffirm the centrality of sexuality, joy, and the body in all areas of human endeavor.
Tom of Finland Foundation: In 1984, the nonprofit Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF) was established by Durk Dehner and his friend Tom. As Tom had established worldwide recognition as the master of homoerotic art, the Foundation’s original purpose was to preserve his vast catalog of work. Several years later the scope was widened to offer a safe haven for all erotic art in response to rampant discrimination against art that portrayed sexual behavior or generated a sexual response. Today ToFF continues in its efforts of educating the public as to the cultural merits of erotic art and in promoting healthier, more tolerant attitudes about sexuality.