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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Betty Tompkins

New York,
USA

The first nine paintings I did after graduate school were what came to be known as the “Fuck Paintings.” After being in two group shows in NYC with them in the early 70s, they were not seen again anywhere, in any context, in any amount until 2002 when I showed them for the first time as a group at the Mitchell Algus Gallery. From there, Bob Nickas curated them into the 2003 Lyon Biennale and from there Camille Morineau had Centre Pompidou purchase one for their permanent collection. Going to the Recent Acquisitions opening at Centre Pompidou was a sweet moment for me, as my work had also been censored, declared pornographic, and denied entry to Paris in 1973. This also happened in Tokyo in 2005. Sometimes celebrated, sometimes hated, I neither know nor try to influence how my paintings and drawings will be received.

Feminist Artist Statement

Although I am, as a rule, against all categorization, I feel that feminism is under such constant threat in art and in life that I am proud to call myself one and to be included in the Feminist Art Base.

<p>Cow Cunt Painting #2</p>

Cow Cunt Painting #2

Cow Cunt Painting #2

Fuck Painting #1

This painting was refused entry into France in 1973 by customs. It took me about a year to get it repatriated to NYC. It is now in the permanent collection of Centre Pompidou in Paris. My work was proposed for purchase by Camille Morineau in 2003 after seeing this and others at the 2003 Lyon Biennale. Bob Nickas bravely persisted in curating me into this show. Here is a short history of the censorship:

In 1973, I was invited to be in an exhibition/auction at S.C.P. Guy Louder, Herve Poulain, Pierre Cornette De Saint-Cyr’s Contemporary Art Department. The show was called “Realism, New Realism, Photo Realism”. The curator was Maurice-Frederick Calatchi. It took place on April 12, 1973 at Espace Cardin, 3 Avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris. Maurice had come to my studio in New York City and picked out 2 paintings for the exhibition, Fuck Painting #1 and Fuck Painting #5. They were duly picked up from me on January 30, 1973, crated and shipped off. The crate was opened in France and the paintings were declared pornographic by a customs official and denied entry to the country. This was told to me by phone and in May also by letter. I am surprised to see that I actually do still have the consignment forms and letters from this event. A catalog was made of the show after all of the work was in Paris. My work is not included. Maurice sent me a copy along with a note expressing his regret and referring to the letter. After a year of phone calls and letters, the paintings were finally repatriated to me. There was no difficulty when they arrived in New York. Fuck Painting #1 is now in the permanent collection of Centre Pompidou/CNAC in Paris along with the original source photograph and the drawing I made after I completed the painting in 1969. They showed the painting in a “Recent Acquisition” exhibition in 2004 and have loaned the drawing to Muse De Beaux Arts in Lyon for a show called “La Plaisser Au Dessin” in 2007. Fuck Painting #1 is also included in the upcoming exhibition? “Elles@Centre Pompidou” exhibition. The CNAC curator, Camille Morineau, had originally seen a group of 4 of the original fuck paintings at The Lyon Biennale in 2003. The critic, Bob Nickas, curated me into the Biennale after seeing my work at the first show I had at Mitchell Altus Gallery in 2002.

Photo by Ari Marcoupolos

A portrait of me by Ari Marcopoulos. My NYC studio with paintings that were shown in my 2009 solo exhibit at Mitchell Algus Gallery, NYC

Ellensburg WA 1973

Me with Fuck Painting #6 and Fuck Painting #5. Both are 84x60”

In 1973, I was invited to be in an exhibition/auction at S.C.P. Guy Louder, Herve Poulain, Pierre Cornette De Saint-Cyr’s Contemporary Art Department. The show was called “Realism, New Realism, Photo Realism”. The curator was Maurice-Frederick Calatchi. It took place on April 12, 1973 at Espace Cardin, 3 Avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris. Maurice had come to my studio in New York City and picked out 2 paintings for the exhibition, Fuck Painting #1 and Fuck Painting #5. They were duly picked up from me on January 30, 1973, crated and shipped off. The crate was opened in France and the paintings were declared pornographic by a customs official and denied entry to the country. This was told to me by phone and in May also by letter. I am surprised to see that I actually do still have the consignment forms and letters from this event. A catalog was made of the show after all of the work was in Paris. My work is not included. Maurice sent me a copy along with a note expressing his regret and referring to the letter. After a year of phone calls and letters, the paintings were finally repatriated to me. There was no difficulty when they arrived in New York. Fuck Painting #1 is now in the permanent collection of Centre Pompidou/CNAC in Paris along with the original source photograph and the drawing I made after I completed the painting in 1969. They showed the painting in a “Recent Acquisition” exhibition in 2004 and have loaned the drawing to Muse De Beaux Arts in Lyon for a show called “La Plaisser Au Dessin” in 2007. Fuck Painting #1 is also included in the upcoming exhibition? “Elles@Centre Pompidou” exhibition. The CNAC curator, Camille Morineau, had originally seen a group of 4 of the original fuck paintings at The Lyon Biennale in 2003. The critic, Bob Nickas, curated me into the Biennale after seeing my work at the first show I had at Mitchell Altus Gallery in 2002.

Fuck Painting #34

Girl on Girl Painting #2

Masturbation Painting #2

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