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Listening session: MIDNIGHT COWBOY

7.9.2022 klo 18:0018:30

Vapaa pääsy

We welcome you to the listening session of Freja Bäckman’s vinyl record Midnight Cowboy (2022) as part of the exhibition Vuodet, jotka toistavat päivänsä – Years that repeat their days at the Kirpilä Art Collection.

The year 2022 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Kirpilä Art Collection. The exhibition Vuodet, jotka toistavat päivänsä – Years that repeat their days celebrates the triennial jubilee.

Freja’s work developed from the soundtrack of the film Midnight Cowboy (1969), which the artist found amongst Juhani (Jussi) Kirpilä and his partner Karl (Kalle) Rosenqvist’s records. The premiere of the movie was one month before the Stonewall uprising, thus during an important period in the LGBTQ+ liberation movement. The film focuses on a person who adopts the aesthetics of a cowboy when moving to a big city to conquer their dreams. In the USA, the figure of the cowboy has conventionally been understood in relation to national identity and masculinity. However by the late 1960s perceptions were shifting, and the cowboy entity was becoming queered, particularly within white and masculine queer spheres. For the main character of the film, the cowboy costume carries a performative fragility as they try to pass as a heterosexual “stud”. Freja’s interest in working with the film came from the love that is clearly emerging between the two main characters. Yet, it seems as if the film presupposes resistance from the audience through presenting homophobic viewpoints throughout the narrative. Perhaps this was one strategy the director used to distract viewers from feeling certain about the true nature of the relationship. The narrative on the record Midnight Cowboy aims to complicate the notion of gender and queer relationships, and their collective memories.

The sound design of the record was made by Tari Doris.

Free entrance, no pre-enrollment.

Photo by Mariliis Rebane

Accessibility at the Kirpilä Art Collection

The Kirpilä Art Collection is not an accessible space. We are situated at the top of an apartment block, on the sixth floor. The collection is housed in a former home that takes up 350 square metres over eight rooms.

Arriving at the museum

The closest accessible car parking space that can be used with a disabled parking permit is located at Pohjoinen Hesperiankatu 17.

At the museum, there are five steps leading up to the front door, with a handrail on both sides. During our opening hours, 2 pm–6 pm Wednesdays and 12 pm–4 pm Sundays, the stairwell may be accessed by wheelchairs with assistance from the security guard, via the gateway and the back door. The route has five doors, of which the narrowest is 87.5 cm in width. Four of the doorways have a threshold with a height of 2–3.5 cm. If you call us in advance (tel. +358 50 351 4337) to let us know when you are coming, the security guard will be ready to receive you. If you will be requiring this alternative entrance route for a reserved guided tour outside of ordinary opening hours, please let us know at the time of booking the tour.

The building dates from 1934, and it still has the original gate lift (elevator), with a doorway width of 65.5 cm. The lift has a handrail on each wall. The measurements of the lift are as follows: height 225 cm, width 90 cm (the rails are at a height of 100 cm, and the space between them is 73 cm), and depth 127 cm (the distance between the back wall rail and the collapsible gate is 118 cm). The top lift button is 143 cm high. The buttons do not have tactile numbers.

Moving around the museum

The door to the museum itself is 83 cm wide, and it has a 4.5 cm threshold.

We ask that visitors remove their shoes or place protective covers over them in the entryway. There are chairs for this purpose at the entrance. The personnel at the museum can assist with storing clothing items, and the payment terminal can be brought to the customer in the case of any purchases (admission is free, but there are books and postcards for sale).

Every room has seats (armchairs and sofas with a seat height of 40–50 cm) for use by visitors.

There are oriental rugs on the floors, with anti-slip underlays. The doorways are wide enough for wheelchairs. Thresholds are a maximum of 2 cm high, and the narrowest doorway is 67.5 cm.

Lists of artworks are found in the rooms: there are no wall plaques next to the artworks themselves. The office will provide large-print lists on request.

Toilets / Restrooms

The museum has three gender-neutral toilets/restrooms for visitors, whose doorway thresholds are 9 cm, 4 cm and 3.5 cm high. Unfortunately, there is no fully accessible toilet. Door handles are at a height of 100 cm. The toilet doorway with the lowest threshold is 57.5 cm wide, and at its narrowest (between the radiator and the sink) the room is 52 cm. The biggest toilet has the highest threshold (9 cm). It has a doorway width of 67.5 cm, and at its narrowest (between the toilet seat and the radiator) the room is 82.5 cm.

Guide dogs

Assistance dogs are welcome.

Video material

The Kirpilä Art Collection YouTube channel has presentation videos and concert recordings. The presentations are subtitled, but the recordings are not.

Discrimination-free art museum

The Kirpilä Art Collection aims to be a discrimination- and harassment-free zone. The collection is open to everyone and we ask that all visitors take part in keeping visits safe and pleasant.

We do not abide by racism, discrimination or sexism in any form. Please take other users of the space into consideration in the ways you act and speak. Let’s make Kirpilä a space that everyone can enjoy!

If you take pictures featuring other persons, make sure to obtain permission from all those who are visible in the images.

If you have any problems, please contact our personnel. We will do our utmost to help.


Vapaa pääsy


Taidekoti Kirpilä
Pohjoinen Hesperiankatu 7, 6. krs
Helsinki, 00260 Suomi
+ Google Map
050 351 4337
Näytä Tapahtumapaikka WWW-sivusto


Taidekoti Kirpilä
050 351 4337
Näytä Järjestäjä WWW-sivusto