Admission with Museum Card

Tom of Finland – Bold Journey

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki

  • 28.4.2023–29.10.2023

Tom of Finland is one of the most recognized Finnish artists in the world, renowned for his signature style and iconic images. The exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki highlights Tom of Finland’s artistic mastery, establishing him as a major figure in 20th century contemporary art and visual culture. 


The exhibition presents works from Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles together with works from the collection of Finnish National Gallery. There are also works from Finnish and international public and private collections in the exhibition.

Alongside drawings, the exhibition features archive material, Tom’s personal clothing and memorabilia, letters, publications, magazines, films, and a new VR experience produced by Donkey Hotel. The experience immerses the viewer into the rooms of 1421 Laveta Terrace, better known as TOM House, the former residence of Tom of Finland in Los Angeles, where he mastered his artwork and lived over the last decade of his life.

The exhibition’s narrative employs the biography of Tom of Finland (born Touko Valio Laaksonen, 8 May 1920 – 7 November 1991) as a guiding thread in examining six decades of his practice. It uses different moments and settings from Laaksonen’s early life in Finland, such as his rural upbringing, military service, his move to the city, post-war period and his numerous travels in Europe and the USA. Tom’s characters such as the logger, biker, white collar worker, serviceman or police officer, denote an engagement with uniforms and gear in a playful manner that subverts conventional behaviours and defies expectations.

“I consistently represent masculine beauty. Of course I do exaggerate the muscles and genitals, for this is what makes it a dream." -Tom of Finland, From Sex Press, La Martiniere, 2012

The fantasy situations depicted by Tom of Finland project a world of enjoyment and pride, which then and now opposes conceptions of non-normative or non-confirming identities bearing guilt or shame. The exhibition contextualises the artist’s work within wider narratives, linking directly to the history of the international LGBTQI+ movement and culture.

By collapsing fixed conceptions of dominance and compliance, the playfulness of the stories and their protagonists signals Tom of Finland’s ongoing relevance and echo key dynamics active today related to fluid identities. The exhibition is joined by Dreamy, a queer hang of the Museum’s collection, aiming at underlining the continuities between past and present practices dealing with LGBTQI+ identities, historicizing recent practices and signaling Tom of Finland’s pioneering agency.

The exhibition is curated by Museum Director Leevi Haapala and Chief Curator of Exhibitions João Laia with an illustrated publication collecting newly commissioned texts and pre-existing writings translated for the first time into English as well as excerpts from one of the last interviews Tom of Finland gave.

The exhibition is not recommended for children due to the explicit sexual imagery it contains. Parental or guardian discretion is advised.

Share this with your friends!

  • Facebook
  • X
  • Instagram

Museum contact details

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki

0294 500 501

Museum website

Yhteydet julkisilla

Näytä reitti museolle Matkahuollon reittioppaassa


Katso reitti Matkahuollon reittioppaassa


Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki


Tai lataa Reitit ja Liput -sovellus

Admission fees

Admission with Museum Card
Admission with Museum Card

20/12/0 €

Payment methods

Pääsymaksun voi maksaa myös Museokortilla, Smartumin kulttuurisetelillä, Luottokunnan Virikesetelillä, TyKy-Kuntosetelillä tai ePassilla.

Opening hours

Mon Closed
Tue 10:00-20:30
Wed 10:00-20:30
Thu 10:00-20:30
Fri 10:00-20:30
Sat 10:00-18:00
Sun 10:00-17:00


Näyttelyn tekstit kielillä