During my grad school years, one of my supervisor was a research expert on the art works of Tom of Finland. And only through him did I begin to understand the work as significant counterculture works and not simply erotic/pornographic art. Although the works intention is erotic, many have wondered if his depiction of ‘supermen’ (male characters with huge sexual organs and muscles) is facile and distasteful, or whether there is a deeper complexity in the work which plays with and subverts those stereotypes. I would argue that there is definitely something more complex than just erotica happening here, in fact, most erotica is more complex than facile.
Now Tom gets an exhibit at MOCA in Los Angeles, on now until January 26th.