Visual AIDS Visual AIDS Visual AIDS 15h Annual Postcards From the Edge, January 25-27, 2013 The Body
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Durk Dehner

s t i r r i n g s
c u r a t o r s :    d u r k  d e h n e r  a n d  s h a r p

Being so involved with an institution dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting erotic art gives many occasions to try and answer the question, "What makes a piece of art erotic?" Well, when viewing a work you can feel something in your heart. Or experience something in your head. Or you can sense something down there. It isn't as simple (or pornographic) as just "wanting" the subject. You may feel desire or you may feel the desire from, or within, the subjects.

The pieces we selected are about appeal. And want. But they are not wanton. They may invoke a carnal desire. They are attractive. We are attracted to some area of sexuality through what they make us feel. They may be stirring. Or somehow suggestive. Or they may just remind us that man is a sexual animal.

We were both excited and honored to explore Visual AIDS Archive Project and see what energy was there. To be able to explore the power, the self-assuredness, the sadness, the pleasure and the sexiness of what the artists revealed to us.

b i o g r a p h i e s

Durk Dehner grew up in Alberta, Canada, and attended fine arts programs at The Allied Arts Center in Calgary, Alberta, the University of Alberta, Edmonton, and The Vancouver School of Fine Arts. Dehner co-founded the Tom of Finland Foundation with Tom himself in 1984 to establish an archive for Tom's life history and work. Dehner has been at the helm of the Foundation developing it into what it is today while working in publishing, film direction, editing and production, public relations and marketing, photography, art collecting, writing, event production, and public speaking. He is a true renaissance man living in the twenty-first century.

SHARP studied Fine Arts, Art History and Design at several Midwest schools and managed the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has worked in design for film and television for over twenty years and fell head-over-heels for the Tom of Finland Foundation nearly six years ago. He sits on the Foundation's Board, acts as the editor of its newsletter, The Dispatch, and is the Head Curator of its Permanent Collection. Says SHARP of art, "I'm impressed by integrity, wackiness, resplendent candor and all those things you want to revisit when you close your eyes at night before you fall asleep."

The Tom of Finland Foundation was established by Durk Dehner and his friend Touko Laaksonen, a.k.a. Tom of Finland. As Tom had established worldwide recognition as the master of homo-erotic art, the Foundation's original purpose was to preserve his vast catalog of work. Several years later the scope was widened to offer a safe haven for all erotic art in response to rampant discrimination against art that portrayed sexual behavior or generated a sexual response. Today the Foundation continues in its efforts at educating the public as to the cultural merits of erotic art and in promoting healthier, more tolerant attitudes about sexuality. In October, the Tom of Finland Foundation will present The 9th Annual Tom of Finland Foundation Erotic Art Weekend in Los Angeles. For more information on this and other events, drawing workshops, fundraisers and exhibitions, check out the Tom of Finland Foundation event board at


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