Images of works by artist Betty Tompkins
Image of Artist Betty Tompkins

Betty Tompkins was, until recently, an art historically neglected figure, despite the significant contribution she made to the late 1960s / early '70s Photorealist movement. Often sexually explicit, her paintings have been refused entry into France in 1973, and were held at Japanese customs in 2006 after being designated as 'pornography'. For Handsome Young Doctor, Tompkins has painted two new canvases, in which a genital piercing recalls the rings of Saturn, and a precarious threesome resembles the docking starships in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). 

- Tom Morton from the press release for Handsome Young Doctor, Cubitt Gallery, London 2007 

Group Exhibitions
Tie His Hands Gently | Romeo | NYC
Black-Sheep Feminism | Dallas Contemporary | Dallas
Dicks | Fortnight Institute | NYC

In a room full of schlongs, how does someone like Tompkins stand out? Or better yet– how does she top her own body of work, already replete with unflinching, unadorned close-ups of human sexy-parts? According to the artist, you take some serious risks: “It’s sort of like the most dangerous work I’ve ever done,” she said.



The Female Gaze Part 2 | Cheim & Read | NYC
Landscapes | Marlborough Contemporary | NYC


Marring an otherwise thoughtful selection is the seemingly transparent decision to include a work by radical feminist Betty Tompkins. Though an argument can be made for a nude in a landscape context - Titian, Giorgione, Joan Semmel, Gustave Courbet's The Origin of the World (1866) - Tompkins's Cunt Painting #9 (2008) is fiercely feminist, and in this exhibition shows just how stubbornly her work resists attempts to transpose its intensity to a disinterested environment.



Amy Greenan-Eric Magnuson-Brad Philips-Betty Tompkins | Hallwals | Buffalo


Curated by John Massier

The hundreds of small works included by Betty Tompkins are from her ongoing Woman Words series, in which an email message from the artist helped build a vocabulary stockpile, from which she proceeded to paint images of women comprised of words. What is immediately apparent and evokes the most immediate response is the almost preposterous quantity of words such a project elicited. From sublime to poetic to profane to exalted, it is a dizzying array so fulsome that one might initially be reading more than seeing, thus failing to immediately recognize the varied painterly grounds upon which the artist has situated these words. Sometimes stark and minimal, sometimes colorful and lively, they collectively create an immense collage of meaning and visual splendor.

The Bill & Betty Show | Plato's Cave | Brooklyn
The Shell (Landscapes, Portraits & Shapes) | Almine Rech Gallery | Paris
Word By Word | Luxembourg & Dayan | London
Venganza | Armada | Milan


Curated by Gia Politi

Lust | HVCCA | Peekskill
Fertility | 33 Orchard | NYC
Of A New World, Called A Blazing World | Mitchell Algus Gallery | NYC
Eureka Carte Blanche to Kendell Geers | Galerist | Istanbul
Viewer Discretion...Children of Bataille | Stux Gallery | NYC
Sargent's Daughters | Sargent's Daughters | NYC
Aftershock: The Impact of Radical Art | Edelman Fine Arts | NYC
Corpus | Zacheta Museum | Warsaw

artists: Marina Abramovic, Samuel Beckett, Vanessa Beecroft, Valie Export, Barbara Hammer, Marek Konieczny, Birgit Jürgenssen, Sigalit Landau, Dominik Lejman, Zbigniew Libera, Klara Lidén, Sarah Lucas, Jacek Malinowski, Ana Mendieta, Duane Michals, Magdalena Moskwa, Clifford Owens, Friederike Pezold, Adam Rzepecki, Santiago Sierra, Alina Szapocznikow, Betty Tompkins, Hannah Wilke

curator Maria Brewinska

Drawing | Matthew Marks Gallery | NYC


The works by Robert Gober, Willem de Kooning, Ellsworth Kelly, Jim Nutt, and Betty Tompkins are all traditional pencil-on-paper drawings. In spite of this shared medium, each displays a quality of line that is immediately recognizable and unique to the artist.

Rear Window Treatment | Louis B. James Gallery | NYC
A Chromatic Loss | Bortolami Gallery | New York City
Selections from the SaraM & Michelle Vance Waddell Collection | Art Academy of Cincinatti | Cicinatti
Independents | V1 Gallery | Copenhagen

Jenny Holzer ✚ Sarah Braman ✚ Elizabeth Peyton ✚ Alicia McCarthy ✚ Betty Tompkins ✚ Hanna Liden ✚ Katherine Bernhardt ✚ Margaret Kilgallen

Page 179, Artforum, September 2013 | Brennan & Griffin | New York City
She | Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts | New York City

In our culture we see women primarly through the eyes of men. This show provides a corrective lens whereby we see women through the eyes of other women. What is revealed is sometimes offensive and subversive. Including works Marlene McCarty, GB Jones, Jess von der Ahe, Sue Williamns, Kathe Burkhart, Betty Tompkins, Nancy Burson, Leslie Brack and others. Organized by Adam Sherman and Kathleen Cullen.

the origin of the world/the force of the source/the cause of the vigor | Samson Projects | Boston

Patty Chang, Tim Davis, Regina José Galindo, Daniel Gordon, Robert Gober, Kelly Kleinschrodt, Chloe Piene, Carolee Schneeman, Kirsten Stoltmann, Betty Tompkins, Anne Severson, Rohan Wealleans & Hannah Wilke

Sunsets and Pussy | Marianne Boesky Gallery | New York City

Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present Sunsets and Pussy. This exhibition brings together two classic themes of summer wonder – so saccharine and ubiquitous we forget their awesome power. Spanning three generations, artists Ed Ruscha, Lucien Smith, Betty Tompkins, and Piotr Uklański each engage in the delight of exposing the clichéd beauty and banality inherent in these timeless images.

DSM-V | The Future Moynihan Station | New York City

Presented by Vito Schnabel.  Curated by David Riminelli.

Jew York | Untitled | New York City
Sex, Money and Power | Maison Particuliere | Brussels
A Few Of My Favorite Things | CB1 Gallery | Los Angeles
Skin Trade | PPOW | New York City

Curated by Larry List and Martha Wilson.

Liu Bolin • Nancy Burson • COLORS Magazine • Adele Crawford • Nancy Davidson • Margi Geerlinks • Kathy Grove • Heide Hatry • Lynn Hershman • Stephen Irwin • Elana Katz • Suzy Lake • Robert Mapplethorpe • Katy Martin • Beverly McIver • Ana Mendieta • Marilyn Minter • Lorraine O’Grady • ORLAN • Hunter Reynolds • Bonnie Rychlak • Alison Saar • Joan Semmel • Jeanne Silverthorne • Betty Tompkins • Robin Williams • Martha Wilson •Veruschka Lehndorff & Holger Trülzsch • Dolores Zorreguieta • Barbara Zucker

In The Pink | Joe Sheftel Gallery | New York City
Dark Garnaal | Galerie Rodolphe Janssen | Villa - Knokke



ff Temporary Autonomous Zone | Lisa Ruyter Gallery | Vienna

The Temporäre Autonome Zone is an independent experimental exhibition platform produced by Lisa Ruyter with ff, a group of international women artists who meet regularly to collaborate on feminist projects. The Temporäre Autonome Zone, in practical terms, will have a festival format, comprising of performances, lectures, talks, workshops and film screenings. The nature of this project is collaborative, performative, pedagogic, necessary and non-commercial

Screw You | Susan Inglett Gallery | New York City

SCREW YOU. , curated by David Platzker of Specific Object, shines a light on the intersection of counterculture publishing, tabloid pornography and the art world which occurred in the creatively fertile years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The exhibition will be on view at Susan Inglett Gallery 31 May to 27 July.

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

April 23 - June 26, 2011

The point of departure for the exhibition ‘No government No cry’ at CIAP in Hasselt from 23 April until 26 June 2011, is a manifesto written by artist Kendell Geers. Through poignant statements, he explores the often ignored link between political and natural revolutions, mourns the loss of our talent for revolution and the underlying causes, and gives us clues on how to re-member our inner alpha-bêtes to live a more true life.......

With special guests: Alec De Busschère, Anne Pajunen, Banksy, Belinda Blignaut, Betty Tompkins, Carl Abrahamsson, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Cendrine du Welz, Geoffroy de Volder, Heidi Voet, Ilse Ghekiere, Jesus Macconnell u no message me no mores, Kara Walker, Krööt Juurak, Laetitia Jeurissen, Laurent Devèze, Leif Elggren, Liz Kinoshita, Lucy Orta, Marina Abramovic, Mårten Spångberg, Monica Bonvicini, Nedko Solakov, Nicolas Bourriaud, Patrick Codenys, Paul McDevitt, Pierre-Olivier Rollin, Raoul Vaneigem, Raqs Media Collective, Renzo Martens, Sandy Williams, Siet Raeymaekers, Sinziana Ravini, Sophie Whettnall, Stephen Thompson, Tania Bruguera, Zin Taylor and others!

Invitation To The Voyage | Algus Greenspon | NYC

My child, my sister, dream
How sweet all things would seem
Were we in that kind land to live together

– Charles Baudelaire

Kai Althoff, Austé, Daniel Burkhart, Rodolphe Bresdin, Edward Burne-Jones, Judith Bernstein, Julia
Margaret Cameron, Dan Colen, F. Holland Day, Robert Demachy, Louis Eilshemius, Emile Fabry,
Agustin Fernandez, Circle of Henry Fuseli, E’wao Kagoshima, Max Klinger, Jutta Koether, Ottokar
Landwehr, Louis Legrand, John Martin, Danny McDonald, George Minne, Carlo Mollino, Paul P.,
Elizabeth Peyton, Émile Constant Puyo, Odilon Redon, Felicien Rops, Fumi Sasabuchi, Anita Steckel,
Florine Stettheimer, Harold Stevenson, Emily Sundblad, Betty Tompkins, Iris Van Dongen, Jean-Luc
Verna, David Wojnarowicz, Katherina Wulff

9/10/11 -10/8/11

Grisaille | Luxembourg and Dayan | NYC

November 7, 2011 - January 14, 2012.  Curated by Alison Gingeras.  Catalog.  Essay by Alison Gingeras.

___Lust and Vice:The Seven Deadly Sins From Durer to Naumann | Kunstmuseum Bern and Zentrum Paul Klee | Bern

October 15, 2010 - February 20, 2011

Visible Vagina | Francis Naumann Gallery | NYC

This show is at Francis Naumann Gallery and David Nolan gallery.  Catalog Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ghada Amer, Beth B, Judie Bamber, Tracey Baran, Nancy Becker, David Beideman, Hans Bellmer, Mike Bidlo, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Brinker, Judy Chicago, Carol Cole, Maureen Connor, Gustave Courbet, Tee Corinne, John Currin, Sarah Davis, James Dee, Jay Defeo, Jim Dine, Leo Dohman, Marcel Duchamp, Carroll Dunham, Tracy Emin, India Evans, John Evans, Valie Export, Robert Forman, Neil Gall, Kathleen Gilje, Guerrilla Girls, Nancy Grossman, Barbara Hammer, Jane Hammond, Mona Hatoum, Stanley William Hayter, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra, David Humphrey, Don Joint Paul Joostens, Pamela Joseph, Mel Kendrick, Elisabeth Kley, Jeff Koons, Mark Kostabi, Shigeko Kubota, Zoe Leonard, Sherrie Levine, Lee Lozano, Henri Maccheroni, Chema Madoz, Réné Magritte, Gerard Malanga, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe, Marcel Mariën, André Masson, Sophie Matisse, Ana Mendieta, Allyson Mitchell, Cathy de Monchaux, Vik Muniz, Wangechi Mutu, Gladys Nilsson, Yoko Ono, Pablo Picasso, Chloe Piene, Richard Prince, Daniel Ranalli, Oona Ratcliffe, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Katia Santibanez, Peter Saul, Naomi Savage, Egon Schiele, Carolee Schneemann, Mira Schor, Michelle Segre, Tom Shannon, Cindy Sherman, James Siena, Laurie Simmons, Kiki Smith, Julie Speed, Nancy Spero, Betty Tompkins, Kiyoshi Tsuchiya, John Tweddle, Tabitha Vevers, Douglas Vogel, Robert Watts, Hannah Wilke, Terry Winters, Beatrice Wood.

Consider The Oyster | James graham & Sons | NYC

September 23 - October 30, 2010.  Curated by Ingrid Dinter." Inspired by MFK Fisher’s evocative prose, in particular her musings on the oyster, Dinter’s group exhibition is a dreamy take on things “oysterish.” The oyster, enigmatic of all ocean creatures with its tough exterior, is, like an artist, hard to pry open, yet worth the time it takes to shuck as inside its crusty shell hides not only the perfect mouthful of succulent, briny flesh, but the ever present possibility of discovering a pearl......The exhibition is its own oyster and in the space festooned with pearls, it becomes clear that, as MFK Fisher describes, an artist’s chance, like a mollusc’s, '…to live at all is slim, and if he should survive the arrows of his own outrageous fortune and in the two weeks of his carefree youth find a clean smooth place to fix on, the years afterward are full of stress, passion and danger.' "

read the CityArts review by Maureen Mullarkey here:



___elles@centrepompidou | CENTRE POMPIDOU, MUSÉE NATIONAL D'ART MODERNE | Paris

This show runs from May 27, 2009 to February 21, 2011. Curated by Camille Morineau.

Naked! Size Matters | Paul Kasmin Gallery | NYC
Curated by Adrian Dannatt and Paul Kasmin.
Revolver | COCO | Vienna
The Line Is A Lonely Hunter - Drawings In New Jerseyy | New Jerseyy | Basel
How To Cook A Wolf: Part 1 | Dinter Fine Art | NYC
Handsome Young Doctor | Cubitt Gallery | London
Curated by Tom Morton as his last show in the Cubitt Curatorial Program.
- 2008 La Plaissir au Dessin | Musee de Beaux Arts | Lyon
Curated by Jean-Luc Nancy.  Drawing is courtesy of Centre Pompidou, Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris.
Into Position | Baurnmarkt | Vienna
IMAGES a project organised by spike art magazine

One artistic work leads several different lives: as an original, a reproduction, a story and a memory. The exhibition »Images« is concerned with the idea of the reproduction as a picture. Not as appropriation, but rather as part of everyday life: the reproduction of artistic works in catalogues, books, magazines, portfolios, press folders, archives and on websites, as well as their aesthetic structures. In the variety of ways they appear, these »secondary pictures«, which are omnipresent in the art world, constitute an enormous parallel exhibition above and beyond temporal and local conditions. In this sense, these »pictures of pictures» are not actually a secondary phenomenon at all, but a separate field with its own definable significance. »Images« asserts that parallel pictures are autonomous and have an aura of their own, which is derived from the particular features of their materials, colours and dimensions, but is also based on the paths these pictures take through the imagination and by the pragmatism of their distribution.

Exquisite Corpse-Cadavre Exquis | Mitchell Algus Gallery | NYC
Curated by Bob Nickas and Mitchell Algus
Uncertain States of America | Serpentine Gallery | London and traveling
A collaboration between Betty Tompkins and Trisha Donnelly with Adam Putman and Shannon Ebner
La Beauté de l’Enfer | Galerie Rodolphe Janssen | Brussels
[Untitled/Nudes] | Printed Matter | NYC
Curated by Larry Clark
Nouvelles Acquisitions, Oeuvres Contemporaines | Centre Pompidou, Musee National D'Art Moderne | Paris
Curated by Camille Morineau.
It Happened Tomorrow | Biennale de Lyon | Lyon
Curated by Bob Nickas, Anne Pontegnie & the Consortium
Copyright ?2007 Betty Tompkins, All Rights Reserved