1421 Laveta Terrace, now home to the Tom of Finland Foundation and the men who administer it, has now been immortalized in Tom House, a new hardcover imprint from Rizzoli.
An immersive glimpse into the private, domestic world of one of the twentieth century’s most revolutionary artists. Tucked behind a monumental Eugenia hedge on a street of modest bungalows and apartment houses in the rapidly gentrifying Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park is one of the gay world’s most idiosyncratic and authentic historical sites. Known officially as Tom House (or the Tom of Finland House), it is the place where the revolutionary Finnish homoerotic artist Touko Laaksonen (1920 -1991) lived and worked for much of the last decade of his life. It is an extraordinary place-part shrine, part haven, part art-historical archive, and part utopian collective. Still occupied by the men who resided there with Tom and dedicated themselves to preserving his legacy, the house serves as a living tribute to the artist’s astonishing oeuvre and his radical vision of unapologetic homoerotic sexuality.
Offered to the reader as an intimate view of the man behind the hypermasculine imagery, the book moves from art-filled room to art-filled room, dining room to dungeon. Almost every surface of the house is covered in work made by Tom himself, or by those he influenced and inspired. For additional insight, Martyn Thompson’s revelatory photographs are paired with rarely seen preparatory sketches and unfinished drawings. Together, the compelling images place Tom’s work in an entirely new light, inviting readers to explore a hidden world of dreams and desire, the world of Tom of Finland.
Michael Reynolds is a New York based creative director, editorial stylist, exhibition and set designer, advertising director, curator, and visual brand consultant. He helped to create Wallpaper, for which he currently serves as U.S. editor. He also is a contributing editor for Architectural Digest, among other publications. Mayer Rus is the West Coast editor of Architectural Digest. He has contributed to The New York Times, Vogue, Artforum, W, and Wallpaper. Photographer Martyn Thompson’s signature painterly images have made him a regular collaborator with the world’s leading brands and publications. His New York based multidisciplinary studio produces fine textiles and decorative art based on his photographs.
Tom House, Tom of Finland in Los Angeles / Edited by Michael Reynolds / Contribution by Mayer Rus / Photographed by Martyn Thompson / Published by Rizzoli / 256 pages / 55$
By Eric Lanuit