This weekend sees the Tom of Finland Foundation’s (ToFF) annual celebration of queer art and artists go digital with their 25th Art & Culture Festival: Plugged In. As the centennial year of the groundbreaking and much-loved Finnish artist’s birthday draws to a close, ToFF, which was founded in his honour 36 years ago by his friend Durk Dehner, remains as committed as ever to their mission to protect, preserve and promote erotic art.
The Foundation has created a dedicated website for this event, most of which is free and open to the public, at: TomOfFinland.org/artfair, with donations to ToFF gratefully accepted during this challenging time, while ToFF members get early access to the festival on Friday December 11th.
“As a community, we have faced so much: experiencing the devastation of HIV/AIDS, fighting the rampant censorship of how we create and express ourselves, and now maintaining connections during great social change and COVID-19,” said Durk Dehner, “Being able to come together at this moment is so vital for us.
“It’s so important to continue the Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival even virtually, because this year is Tom’s 100’s birthday. This festival is not only a platform championing queer art and queer artists, but also a gathering place where all queer communities can come together,” said Rubén Esparza, Festival Coordinator and Founder of the Queer Biennial.
25th Art & Culture Festival: Plugged In aims to support queer artists by providing them an avenue to present and sell their work and will feature virtual artist booths and online events throughout the weekend. Attendees can connect with artists, see performances, watch video installations, draw, and listen to panel discussions.
Visual arts segments during the Festival will include shorts submitted by artists and trailers from the Men.com x Tom of Finland series. Queer artist and filmmaker Bruce LaBruce’s comments, “I am thrilled and delighted to be participating in the annual Tom of Finland Art Festival. In 2019 I was honoured to be invited to make a short movie based on Tom of Finland’s Kake comic Service Station in collaboration with Men.com, and I hope to be invited to do it again next year so that I can make one with Mounties based on the Kake comic Kake in Canada. They don’t call them the ‘mounted police’ for nothing!”
25th Art & Culture Festival: Plugged In – Highlights:
Announcements of the 2020 Tom of Finland Emerging Artist Competition winners and the 2020 Tom of Finland Foundation Awards recipients.
Life Drawing Sessions
Plugged In Panels include: History of Leather and Fetish Talk with Durk Dehner and special guests including Jon Wright and John McConnell
Artist’s Corner: Queer Art Practices with Rubén Esparza and Jordan Green, speaking with BlackManWhiteBaby, Suzanne Shifflett, Seosamh “Joe” Lily, Anka Connolley, and Vicente Urgecheta
Overlaps: Art + Identity + Activism with Ron Athey, Cassils, and Rafa Esparza
Around The World With Tom’s Men with Stuart Sandford, Brontez Purnell, Slava Mogutin, and Matt Lambert
DJ sets from DJ Kita and Lethal Amounts
Spoken word by Steven Reigns
Performances and video playlists featuring artists ¿La Pregunta?, Aimee Goguen, BlackManWhiteBaby, Brontez Purnell, Bruce LaBruce, Candy Pain, Cassils, Dynasty Handbag, Emily Lucid, Heldáy de la Cruz, Josh Paul Thomas, Lior Shamriz, Peter Kalisch, Rechsteiner, Ron Athey, Rubén Esparza, Seosamh “Joe” Lily, Seth Bogart, Slava Mogutin, Sob Sister, and Travis Hu
For more details on the 2020 Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival, visit the official ToFF website and the festival website 11-13th December 2020. Get social with fellow queer erotic art lovers using these hashtags over the weekend: #TomOfFinlandFoundation #tofARTfair #TOMs100 #TomOfFinland.
ABOUT THE 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.