Two Boys On A Beach, 1938
October 13th – November 17th, 2018
John Wolf”s magical juxtaposition of a secret art exhibition embedded into one of Los Angeles’ most erotic collections, adds nuanced context and delightful cross-conversations within the Tom House’s prevailing mise-en-scene.
Known for his use of unconventional space, Los Angeles-based curator John Wolf has given works new meaning by placing them in unusual contexts, such as in his recent exhibition Human Condition, which took place in an abandoned hospital in Los Angeles. For Secret Gay Box, Wolf has partnered with the Tom of Finland Foundation in Echo Park, where art hides in plain sight. Like Wolf’s own childhood, Tom of Finland’s practice began in an all-too-familiar closeted secret world, where his identity was hidden from his community and his artwork was created as means of self-expression. Secret Gay Box is a fluctuating document of a person’s individuality: it is a time capsule and it is also a time machine. It is the collision point for a variety of contradictory impulses; stranger and family member; individual and collective.
Featuring artists Matthew Leifheit, Nathan Ritterpusch, Stuart Sandford, Justin Olerud, Robert Mapplethorpe, Joseph La Piana, Mike Kuchar, Don Joint, Levi Jackman Foster, Hossein Edalatkhah, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Paul Cadmus, Patrick Angus, Andy Warhol, and Jose Gonzalo Garcia Munoz, Secret Gay Box creates a dialogue with the work of Tom of Finland, which expresses hidden desires as embodied through the homoerotic male form.
From Stuart Sandford’s intimate Polaroids documenting the obsession of a lover, to more overtly illicit drawings by Mike Kuchar – who signed his erotic works “Mike” without a surname and considered the practice to be his “little secret career” – works on view embody queerness in its most subtle and most overt forms. Secret Gay Box illustrates what Eve Sedgwick has coined texxture – “the kind of texture that is dense with offered information about how, substantially, historically, materiality, it came into being.”
John Wolf is a global art advisor based in Los Angeles. He founded John Wolf Art Advisory & Brokerage in 2009 to assist private collectors, institutions, and corporations in creating outstanding collections of contemporary art. Wolf also curates museum-quality exhibitions at various host locations, including contemporary art galleries, vacant storefronts and hotel lobbies. Nomadic in nature, the curatorial efforts of John Wolf Art Advisory reflect a larger effort to reinvigorate the art market by offering refreshing perspectives for the contextualization of these works.
Tom of Finland Foundation’s mission is to preserve, protect and promote the works of Tom of Finland and his fellow erotic artists. The Permanent Collection houses more than 1,500 original works by Tom, and another 2,000 works by hundreds of other artists, and the archives, with well over 100,000 images, documents, and records, together comprise the world’s largest repository of erotic art. TOM House is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument where Tom of Finland Foundation has operated since 1984. www.tomoffinlandfoundation.org | By Appointment Only