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MOCA PRESENTS BOB MIZER AND TOM OF FINLAND EXHIBITION

 

Bob Mizer Physique Pictorial Volume 16 Number 4, February 1968.Publication.Printed with permission of Bob Mizer Foundation, Inc .

 

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles will house the first American museum exhibition entitled Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland. The landmark is a long over due homage to two of the most avant-garde and prolific artists of the 20th century. Curated by Bennett Simpson and guest curator Richard Hawkins, the exhibition will include Bob Mizer films, “catalogue boards”, and studio sessions as well as a repertoire of Tom of Finland’s subversive, titillating drawings. Also included will be a comprehensive collection of Mizer’s Physique Pictorial, a ground breaking publication that first featured Tom of Finland’s work in 1957.

Rather than resting in the doldrums of the “in the closet culture” of post-war America, both artists irreverently produced provocative images of gay culture — Tom of Finland with his re-appropriated symbols of masculine archetypes and Bob Mizer’s defiant representations of erotic naturalism. Finland’s renderings challenged the inherent expression of masculinity, creating scenes that exuded a brute strength coupled with an unabashed sexual expression. In contrast, Mizer’s work exhibited the beginnings of the male pin-up boy — natural physiques, all-american faces, and flattering lighting. Mizer established the Athletic Model Guild (AMG), illuminating males for once, as objects of desire.

Both artists developed singular points of view in their own rite, establishing a vernacular of homosexual culture that had previously been suppressed. Their defiance was met with vehement socio-political opposition; nonetheless each artist insisted on the right of self-expression, forging a new gay identity. They created a language that sparked the subsequent demand for equal rights propelled by the gay liberation movement. Both deceased, their work undeniably influenced artists including Robert Mapplethorpe, David Hockney, and John Waters. The exhibition will undoubtedly introduce their work to an altogether new generation.

The Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland exhibition runs from November 2 until January 26, 2014 at the MOCA Pacific Design Center.

Bob Mizer Physique Pictorial Volume 11 Number 4, May 1962.Publication. Printed with permission of Bob Mizer Foundation, Inc .

Bob Mizer Untitled [Barry Maurer, Hand on Gun], Los Angeles, c. 1961 Vintage large-format black and white negative. Silver gelatin print 8 x 10 inches. Printed with permission of Bob Mizer Foundation, Inc .

Bob Mizer Untitled [Dennis Lavia Seated in Garage], Los Angeles, c. 1964 Vintage large-format black and white negative. Silver gelatin print. 8 x 10 inches. Printed with permission of Bob Mizer Foundation, Inc .

Bob Mizer Untitled [Larry Lamb, Profile with Chains], Los Angeles, c. 1959 Vintage large-format black and white negative. Silver gelatin print 8 x 10 inches. Printed with permission of Bob Mizer Foundation, Inc .

Bob Mizer Untitled [Dennis Schreffer, Wand Balance], Los Angeles, c. 1957.Vintage large-format black and white negative.Silver gelatin print. 8 x 10 inches. Printed with permission of Bob Mizer Foundation, Inc .

Bob Mizer Untitled [Joe Dallesandro Shower #1], Los Angeles, c. 1965. Vintage large-format black and white negative. Silver gelatin print 8 x 10 inches. Printed with permission of Bob Mizer Foundation, Inc .

Bob Mizer Brian Idol, Los Angeles, c. 1966 Vintage large-format black and white negative .Silver gelatin print. 8 x 10 inches. Printed with permission of Bob Mizer Foundation, Inc .

Tom of Finland, (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991) Untitled, 1968. Graphite on paper. 12.94” x 9.38”. ToFF Cat. #68.06, Collection of Volker Morlock, © 1968 Tom of Finland Foundation

Tom of Finland, (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991). Youthful Innocence, 1969 .The New Biker Stud – Bob Mizer title. Graphite on paper. 11.75” x 8.50”.ToFF Cat. #69.02, Collection of Volker Morlock, © 1969 Tom of Finland Foundation

Tom of Finland, (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991).Untitled (From Beach Boy 1 story), 1971 .Pen & ink, gouache on paper. 8.25” x 5.75”. COQ International Collection, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent. Collection #71.24, © 1971 Tom of Finland Foundation

Tom of Finland, (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991). Untitled (From Beach Boy 2 story), 1971. Pen & ink, gouache on paper. 8.25” x 5.25”. Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection #71.45, © 1971 Tom of Finland Foundation

Tom of Finland, (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991). Untitled (From Beach Boy 2 story), 1971 .Pen & ink, gouache on paper. 8.25” x 5.25”. Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection #71.58, © 1971 Tom of Finland Foundation

Tom of Finland, (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991). Untitled (No.1 from “Cyclist and the Farm Boy” series), 1973. Graphite on paper. 11” x 8”. Bob Mizer/AMG Collection, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent. Collection #73.10, © 1973 Tom of Finland Foundation






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