House Imitates Art

In Tom of Finland’s home in L.A., where he lived and worked the last decade of his life, phalluses are scattered everywhere, as erect marble statues, full-frontal paintings, penis-embroidered cushions. Nearly every surface is covered in work made by Tom or those he influenced. It looks exactly as one might expect the residence of the world’s foremost homoerotic artist to look.

A new photographic book (Tom House, Rizzoli) aims to reveal the domestic side of the Finnish artist, born Touko Laaksonen. Like the illicit encounters he so graphically depicted, the book cruises from the palm-treed front yard to the Pleasure Park-themed back area, the dining room to legendary dungeon, the attic bedroom to basement bar.

Still occupied by the men who resided there with Tom, who dedicated themselves to preserving his legacy, the house now serves as the headquarters of the Tom of Finland Foundation, which acts as a shelter for runaway LGBTQ youth, a gallery for outsider art, and Tom’s archives.

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