Last Friday night was bulge-packed, studly, artful and more sausage-tastic than a visit to Hickory Farms. That’s cuz there was a tasty opening preview of the sexy, saucy and sublimely fun new exhibit Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland at MOCA (L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art) at their outpost at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center. The show celebrates the seminal (pun intended) work of two of gaydom’s most influential art masters, illustrator and sexual-fantasy orchestrator Tom of Finland (aka Touko Laaksonen) and beefcake photography pioneer Bob Mizer (the man behind the classic male mag, Athletic Model Guild, just for starters). A host of art world and queer culture notables showed up to gaze at the studly landmark imagery on display, celebrating how Tom of Finland’s art helped to define iconic gay hyper-masculinity, and how Mizer’s cheery, cheeky photos celebrating muscled sexual exuberance paved the way for just about all male photography that followed. Joyously, it’s vintage male hotness getting its due.
Please go visit the MOCA show, up til January 26, 2014. As curator Richard Hawkins stated at the opening “We toss the word ‘pride’ around a lot in gay culture, but this show is about gleeful gay shamelessness — and celebrating it.” And it’s a natural pairing, since it was Bob Mizer’s classic male mag, Physique Pictorial, which gave Tom of Finland his very first magazine illustration gig in the U.S, and they remained frequent collaborators. So, enjoy the photos here (more after the jump too) of the opening preview attendees. And mark your calendar for this Saturday, November 9, which will see a members’ reception (pun again intended) at MOCA, as well as the annual GoGo Dancer Festival and Appreciation Day in WeHo. Hurrah, we all win!
And still more photos to ogle after the jump! And a video!
Below, an excellent video (via MOCAtv) telling a bit of the story of L.A.’s Tom of Finland foundation. Packed with great images and backstory from the foundation’s Durk Dehner and S.R. Sharp.