Betty Tompkins

Way back in the 1960s at the exact same moment that Chuck Close was doing it with the faces, Betty Tompkins was making enormous black-and-white photorealist paintings — not of faces — but graphically pornographic images (...), ripped from straight male porn magazines (yes, kids — people used to masturbate to still black-and-white pics back in the day; not color videos like all of you); beautiful paintings of blow jobs, female fingerings, spread-eagle women doing anything you might imagine. I remember seeing images of this work back then and thinking, Wow! I like these way more than Chuck Close; this is someone really going for it in scale, technique, and holding nothing back about image. Sadly and undeservedly — and probably because it was too scary for a woman to be handling in-your-face imagery and scale like this — Tompkins was dealt out of a little history before storming back in about 15 years ago; she's one of the strongest artists out there now, always sparing nothing, using contemporary porn (all-shaved, of course, and bigger dicks, not sure why), in a show that is a must-see for the legions of curators who are always beating the bushes to "rediscover" other "older women artists."

Jerry Salz in Vulture, 23.09.2015


Born 1945 in Washington D.C. USA

Lives and works in New York and Mt. Pleasant, PA USA



Women Words, rodolphe janssen, Brussels, Belgium

Betty Tompkins.Raw Material, MO.CO., Montpellier, France

Some Sex, Lots Of Talking, Gavlak Gallery, Los Angeles, CA USA



GIRL ON GIRL, Helmuts Art Club, Vienna, Austria

FUCK PAINTINGS, ETC, J Hammond Projects, London, UK


Will She Ever Shut Up?, P·P·O·W, New York, NY USA

Betty Tompkins : Women Words, WAAP, Wil Aballe Art Projects, Vancouver, Canada

rodolphe janssen, Brussels, Belgium

Betty Tompkins & Jean-Baptiste Bernadet, Ribordy Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland


Betty Tompkins, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

small, Marlborough Gallery, Viewing room, New York, NY USA

Virgins, P·P·O·W, New York, NY USA

Jean Baptiste Bernadet & Betty Tompkins, Hasley Mckay Gallery, East Hampton, NY USA

Sex Works / WOMEN Words: Words, Phrases and Stories, Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, FL USA


Sex Works / WOMEN Words: Words, Phrases and Stories, Gavlak Gallery, Los Angeles, CA USA

WOMEN Words Phrases and Stories, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY USA


Real Ersatz, FUG, New York City, NY USA


Art Basel Feature, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Basel, Switzerland

Paintings & Works On Paper 1972-2013, Sarah Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, FL USA


Woman Words, Dinter Fine Art, project room #63, New York, NY USA

Home alone 2, Betty Tompkins and Dadamaino, New York, NY USA


Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium


Sex Works, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich, Switzerland


New Work, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, NY USA


Sex Works, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, NY USA


Lawrimore project, Seattle, WA USA


Fuck Paintings and Drawings, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich, Switzerland


New Paintings and Drawings, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, NY USA


Fuck Paintings 1969-74, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, NY USA


Egizio’s Project, New York, NY USA



Femme Fatale: Gaze-Power-Gender, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany

Floating Truth, Gana Art, Seoul, South Korea

A Maze Zanine, Amaze Zaning, A-Mezzaning, Meza-9, curated by Ei Arakawa, Kerstin Brätsch, Nicole Eisenman, and Laura Owens, Performance Space New York at David Zwirner, New York, NY USA

Sensitive Content, Unit London, London, UK USA

A Woman’s Right to Pleasure, BlackBook Presents at Sotheby’s, Los Angeles, CA USA

A Feminist Avant Garde from the Verbund Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Serbia

Les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles, Arles, France

Drawers: Provocative Drawings, curated by Laura Hutson Hunter, OZ Arts, Nashville, TN USA

Late Night Enterprise, Perrotin, New York, NY USA


Female Sensibility. Feminist Avant-Garde from the SAMMLUNG VERBUND, Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Austria

Works on paper, rodolphe janssen, Brussels, Belgium


To Cast Too Bold A Shadow, Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, New York, NY USA

IMAGE POWER, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands


Reflections, Gana Art Gallery, Seoul Korea, Seoul, South Korea

FEMINISMS!, The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s. Works from the VERBUND COLLECTION, CCCB, Barcelona, Spain

Modification, Petzel Gallery, New York, NY USA

Tainted Love, Villa Arson, Nice, France

Fuck Your Fear, Van Horn Gallery, Düsseldorf, Germany

Afflatus, 5-50 Gallery, curated by Amy Hill and Suzanne Unrein, Queens, NY USA

Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Petzel Gallery, New York, NY USA

Rise, RIBORDY THETAZ, Geneva, Switzerland

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, curated by Kasia Redzisz, Muzeum Susch, Zernez, Switzerland


Under/erasure, Pierogi, New York, NY USA

The Value of Freedom, Belvedere Museum Vienna, Austria

WOMEN NOW, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, NY USA

WOMAN, The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s, Works from the SAMMLUNG VERBUND Collection, Vienna, Stavanger Art Museum, Norway

Declaration, Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA), Richmond, VA, USA

IN THE CUT: The Male Body in Feminist Art, Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, Saarbrücken, Germany


Tainted Love, Comfrot Moderne, Poitiers, France

Theft is Vision, LUMA Westbau, Zurich, Switzerland

Histories of sexuality, curated by Camilia Bechelany, MASP, Sao Paolo, Brazil

Nude, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

Für Barbara, The Hall Art Foundation | Schloss Derneburg Museum, Derneburg, Germany

CUNT, Venus LA, Los Angeles, CA USA

SECRET GARDEN, The Female Gaze on Erotica, Untitiled Space, New York, NY USA

Ear Putty, 56 HENRY (annex), New York, NY USA

Flaming June VII (Flaming Creatures), Gavlak LA, Los Angeles, CA USA


Uniques en leurs genres, Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris, France

Dicks, Fortnight Institute, New York, NY USA

Betty Tompkins and Bill Mutter, Plato's Cave at EIDIA House, Brooklyn, NY USA

Amy Greenan - Eric Magnuson - Brad Phillips - Betty Tompkins, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY USA

Das Loch, Künstlerhaus Bremen, Bremen, Germany

Summer Reading, Fortnight Institute, New York, NY USA

X, Lyles & King Gallery, New York, NY USA

The Female Gaze Part 2, Cheim & Read, New York, NY USA

Landscapes, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY USA

Black Sheep Feminism, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX USA


A Sight For Sore Eyes, Artsy at Art Brussels, Brussels, Belgium (with Lucas Jardin)

Word by Word, Luxembourg & Dayan, London, UK curated by Francesco Bonami

Viewer Discretion…Children of Bataille, Stux Haller Gallery, New York, NY USA. curated by Kathleen Cullen

Venganza (I don’t want to be friends), organized by Gea Polity, Milan, Italy

Lust, HVCCA, Peeksil, New York, NY USA

Fertility, presented by Jane Kim, 33 Orchard, New York, NY USA

The Shell (Landscapes, Portaits & Shapes) a show by Eric Troncy, Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, France

Eureka! curated by Kendell Geers, Galerist, New York, NY USA


Rear Window Treatment, Louis B. James, New York, NY USA

A Drawing Show, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY USA

CORPUS, Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw, Poland

A Chromatic Loss, curated by Jeffrey Uslip, Bortolami, New York, NY USA

Selections from the Sarah and Matchelle Vance Waddel Collection, Art Academy of Cincinatti, Cincinatti, OH USA

Aftershock: The Impact of Radical Art, Edelman Arts, New York, NY USA


Independents, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

Sunsets and Pussy, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Nex York, NY USA

Skin Trade, an in-depth look at the surface of things, P.P.O.W Gallery, New York, NY USA

Jew York, Unt/tled & Zach Feuer, New York, NY USA

DSM-V, curated by David Rimaneli, presented by Vito Schnabel, Farley Post Office, New York, NY, USA

A few of my favorite things, CB ! Gallery, Los Angeles, CA USA

Temporary Autonomous Zone / 2 Erogenous Zone, Galerie im Körnerpark & Pony Royal, Berlin, Germany

The Origin of the World/The Force of the Source/The Cause of the Vigor, Samsøn, Boston, MA USA

Betty Tompkins and Dadamaino, Home Alone 2 Gallery, New York, NY USA

Sex, Money and Power, Maison Particulière, Brussels, Belgium


Dark Garnaal, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Summer Project, Villa Knokke, Knokke Heist, Belgium

Newtopia, Special guest of Kendell Geers, Kazerne Dossin Memorial, Mechelen, Belgium

In the Pink, Joe Sheftel Gallery, New York, NY USA

Screw you, Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, NY USA

Character Analysis, Joe Sheftel Gallery, New York, NY USA


Grisaille, Luxembourg & Dayan, New York, NY USA

Narrative to the Perverse II, Jancar Gallery, Los Angeles, CA USA

Invitation to the Voyage – Charles Baudelaire, Algus Greenspon, New York, NY USA

No government No cry, a project by Kendell Geers, CIAP Actuele Kunst, Hasselt, Belgium


Lust and Vice : The Seven Deadly Sins From Durer to Naumann, Kunstmuseum Bern and Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland

Visible Vagina, Francis Naumann Gallery, New York, NY USA

Consider The Oyster, James graham & Sons, New York, NY USA


elles@centrepompidou, Centre Pompidou, Musée d’art moderne, Paris, France

Naked! Size Matters, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY USA

Revolver, COCO, Vienna, Austria

The Line Is A Lonely Hunter - Drawings In New Jersey, New Jersey, Basel, Switzerland


Images, Head, Geneva, Switerland

How To Cook A Wolf: Part 1, Dinter Fine Art, New York, NY USA

www.Women, Headbones Gallery, Toronto, Canada


Into Position, Baurnmarkt, Vienna, Austria

Le Plaisir au Dessin, Musee de Beaux Arts, Lyon, France

Handsome Young Doctor, Cubitt Gallery, London, UK


Exquisite Corpse-Cadavre Exquis, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, NY USA

Uncertain States of America, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK and traveling


La Beauté de l’Enfer, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium


[Untitled/Nudes], Printed Matter, New York, NY USA

Nouvelles Acquisitions, Oeuvres Contemporaines, Centre Pompidou, Musée National D’Art Moderne, Paris, France


It Happened Tomorrow, Biennale de Lyon, Lyon France



Weir Farm Trust/National Park Service Wilton CT USA


Director’s Award, Warren Tanner Memorial Fund


Project Development Grant, New School, New York, NY USA


Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY Macdowell Colony (also 82, 83, 88) Peterborough, NH


New York Foundation for the Arts


CAPS Grant


Ossabaw Island Project, Savannah, GA


Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN USA

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia PA USA

Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY USA

Allen Art Museum, Oberlin, OH USA

Centre Pompidou, Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France

Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY USA

Museum Of The City Of New York, NY USA

Stamford Museum, Stamford, CT USA

Zimmereli Art Museum, New Brunswick, NJ USA