It’s been quite a while since I’ve talked about sex and Art… Well, thanks to the ICA, and its summer exhibition Keep Your Timber Limber (Works on Paper) 19 June 2013 – 8 September 2013, here you go: naked men ejaculating, homoerotic pictures, lots and lots of penises. How cool is that
More seriously though, this show deals with the way artists were challenging some of their contemporary issues: sexuality, politics, war, gender. Like Tom of Finland, real name Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991): back in the 1940s, he was already making highly explicit drawings of sexy, sculptural almost-god-like men showing off their perfect bodies, or even being involved in some rough sexual activities. But remember, it was the mid 20th century: homosexuality was still regarded as a disease/perversion in many countries. How more controversial could you be? For sure, Tom of Finland left an unmistakable mark upon society’s psyche by establishing what are now the visual “homosexual codes” (if not clichés): Laaksonen’s fetishism focused on uniforms (the biker, the sailor, the police officer, the lumberjack…), and no wonder why Frankie Goes to Hollywood went for the S&M leather look in the 1980s. Shame really, couldn’t find a good picture of the most explicit works -presented at the ICA- by Finland.
Tom of Finland
Here are the 8 artists exhibited: Judith Bernstein, Tom of Finland, George Grosz, Margaret Harrison, Mike Kuchar, Cary Kwok, Antonio Lopez and Marlene McCarty.