Biography

The large scale photorealistic paintings of heterosexual intercourse which Betty Tompkins made between 1969 and 1974 were practically unknown when they were exhibited together for the first time in New York in 2002. Knowledge of Tompkins’ paintings immediately broadened the repertoire of first generation feminist-identified imagery. More significantly, their materialization made manifest an unacknowledged precursor to contemporary involvement with explicit sexual and transgressive imagery. Shown at the Lyon Biennale in 2003 beside Steve Parrino’s equally wayward abstractions, Betty Tompkins’ work garnered extraordinary attention. The first painting in the series – there are only eight extant early Fuck Paintings – was acquired for the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou/CNAC in Paris.......

Although Betty Tompkins’ work is not included in LA MOCA’s current Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution exhibition, it figures prominently in Richard Meyer’s essay for the show’s catalog, Hard Targets: Male bodies, Feminist Art and the Force of Censorship in the 1970s. Meyer notes the essentialist bent of much early feminist-associated art and outlines the marginalization melded the phalocentric or coitus-concerned work of heterosexual women artists. Given the context, Tompkins’ straightforwardness and refusal to moralize is bracing. This, coupled with a ferociously deadpan humor, makes the artist’s images iconic.   from Mitchell Algus Gallery press release, 2007

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBTIONS

2017

Small | Marlborough Contemporary | NYC

2017
Sex Works/WOMEN Words Phrases and Stories | Gavlak Gallery | Palm Beach

2017
Virgins | PPOW | NYC

2016
Sex Works/WOMEN Words Phrases and Stories | Gavlak LA | Los Angeles

2016
WOMEN Words Phrases and Stories | Flag Art Foundation | NYC

2015
Real Ersatz | BHQFUG | NYC

Review by Jerry Saltz in NY Magazine:

Betty Tompkins: "Real Ersatz"
FUG
Through Oct. 18

2014
Art Basel Feature | Galerie Rodolphe Janssen | Basel

www.artbasel-online.com/en/Betty-Tompkins-Kiss-Painting-6,p1446718

2014
Paintings & Works On Paper 1972-2013 | Sarah Gavlak Gallery | Palm Beach

2013
Woman Words | Dinter Fine Art Online | New York City

2013
Betty Tompkins & Dadamaino | Home Alone 2 | New York City

2012
Fuck Paintings | Galerie Rodolphe Janssen | Brussels

2011
Sex Works | Galerie Andrea Caratsch | Zurich

2009
New Work | Mitchell Algus Gallery | New York
April 25 - June 6, 2009

2008
Fuck Paintings and Drawings 1973 - 2007 | Lawrimore Projects | Seattle