Last week, I gave a talk on Tom of Finland at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), in conjunction with the exhibition Tom House: The Work and Life of Tom of Finland. I spoke on a day of significance for appreciators of Tom of Finland: May 8th, the date of Tom’s birthday (now known as Tom of Finland Day). Tom would have been 98 years old.
My talk was part of a small program of events to mark the occasion at MOCAD. In the lead-up to my talk, I didn’t have time to mention my talk here on my website, but I like to keep a record of my presentations on my website, so here are the details:
The Mike Kelly Mobile Homestead: Tom of Finland Day
May 8, 2018, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead, MOCAD, 4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit
Admission: Free ($5 suggested donation)
Touko Valio Laaksonen (Tom of Finland) was born on May 8, 1920 in Kaarina, southwest Finland. Join us as we say Hyvää syntymäpäivää, Tom! There might be cake. #TomOfFinlandDay
5:30PM – Tom of Finland birthday cake and singing
6:30PM – Talk with Tom Cho
7:00PM – Screening of Daddy and the Muscle Academy
Preparing this talk was an honour for me—a way to pay tribute to an artist who, as I have said in the past, has motivated some of my adventures in art and queerness and choosing names. In addition, I haven’t had time to write at length about Tom nearly as much as I would like, but I am gradually producing more of my own words about Tom—words that I hope will coalesce and morph into a larger work some day. There are a few segments in my talk notes that I think will find other forms in the future (and on that note, if you are the editor of a magazine or journal who is interested in an article about Tom of Finland, please do get in contact with me).
PS As already shared on Instagram, here’s a picture of the Tom of Finland birthday cake that was served at MOCAD: