3 months ago

Studio Voltaire Presents: A Summer with Beryl Cook and Tom of Finland

This summer, Studio Voltaire stages an artistic meeting of minds, pairing Beryl Cook and Tom of Finland for the first time.

Tom of Finland Untitled

Running from 15 May to 25 August 2024, the exhibition delves into themes of gender, sexuality, and liberation, showcasing the works of these iconic artists.

A Tribute to Everyday Exuberance

Beryl Cook, celebrated for her vivacious portrayals of everyday life, lends this exhibition a spirited atmosphere with her iconic scenes of jubilant women enjoying the nightlife, cafés, and parties of Plymouth. Renowned since the mid-1970s, Cook’s work captures the essence of British social life in bold, graphic forms, making her a household name and one of the nation’s most cherished artists.

Machismo and Liberation through Art

On the other side, Tom of Finland’s groundbreaking depictions of homosexual machismo offer a powerful counterpoint. His masterful drawings of bikers, soldiers, cowboys, and sailors have not only captivated the queer, leather, and muscle communities but also sparked real-world liberation movements, influencing cultural icons from the Village People to Jean Paul Gaultier.

Beryl Cook – Lady of Marseille

A Playful and Political Pairing

At the heart of this exhibition is the playful yet political synergy between Cook and Tom of Finland’s works. Studio Voltaire’s curatorial approach pairs these artists in a dialogue that celebrates the flesh in all its forms, challenging norms and delighting in the body’s excesses. By showcasing original works and never-seen archival materials, this presentation promises a fresh perspective on both artists’ legacies.

Engagement Beyond the Gallery

What sets Cook and Tom of Finland apart is their innovative engagement with audiences outside traditional art spaces. Through postcards, calendars, and clandestine networks, both artists found ways to connect directly with their fans, embedding their works into the fabric of popular culture and gaining enduring followings.

A Must-See Cultural Event

The “Beryl Cook / Tom of Finland” exhibition at Studio Voltaire is not just a retrospective; it’s a vibrant celebration of life, liberation, and the joy of being oneself. As we anticipate the opening, this summer promises to be a season of discovery and celebration, inviting us all to embrace the beauty of diversity and the power of artistic expression. Join us for an unforgettable journey through the works of two artists who dared to delight in pleasure and live unabashedly.

Opening preview: Tuesday 14 May 2024, 6–8 pm. Free, all welcome. No booking is required.

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