Skip to Main Content

Betty Tompkins

American, b. 1945

973 followers
Follow

Betty Tompkins

American, b. 1945

973
Followers
Biography

Rendered in softly airbrushed tones, Betty Tompkins’s photorealist paintings of intimate sexual encounters, including exposed genitalia, penetration, and masturbation, derive from pornography. Though her series of nine “Fuck Paintings” were flagged by French customs officials for pornographic content and withheld from display in 1973, they have since received belated acknowledgment and appreciation. Tompkins carefully crops out faces or body parts to excise narrative detail, enlarging the scale to fill large expanses of wall. By emptying her paintings of signifiers of race, class, time, and circumstance, Tompkins presents erotic encounters between two (or sometimes more) powerfully consonant bodies.

Related Categories
Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Established
Established representation
Represented by industry leading galleries.
Group
Group show at a major institution
MoMA PS1, and 3 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 1 more
Biography

Rendered in softly airbrushed tones, Betty Tompkins’s photorealist paintings of intimate sexual encounters, including exposed genitalia, penetration, and masturbation, derive from pornography. Though her series of nine “Fuck Paintings” were flagged by French customs officials for pornographic content and withheld from display in 1973, they have since received belated acknowledgment and appreciation. Tompkins carefully crops out faces or body parts to excise narrative detail, enlarging the scale to fill large expanses of wall. By emptying her paintings of signifiers of race, class, time, and circumstance, Tompkins presents erotic encounters between two (or sometimes more) powerfully consonant bodies.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Established
Established representation
Represented by industry leading galleries.
Group
Group show at a major institution
MoMA PS1, and 3 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 1 more
Shows Featuring Betty Tompkins
Articles Featuring Betty Tompkins
The Bad Boy Artists of the 1980s Owe a Debt to Their Feminist Predecessors
Mar 1st, 2019
The Bad Boy Artists of the 1980s Owe a Debt to Their Feminist Predecessors
Betty Tompkins Gives Art History a #MeToo Overhaul
Nov 23rd, 2018
Betty Tompkins Gives Art History a #MeToo Overhaul
18 Artists Share the Books That Inspire Them
Jun 23rd, 2017
18 Artists Share the Books That Inspire Them
Inside the Weird and Magical Collections of Artists
Jun 2nd, 2017
Inside the Weird and Magical Collections of Artists
Navigate right