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Apologia (Artemesia Gentileschi #4)

Betty Tompkins

Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Betty Tompkins’s recent series isolates apologia—statements justifying one’s actions—by men accused of sexual harassment or assault, and superimposes them upon masterworks of the Western canon torn from art history books. In Apologia (Artemisia Gentileschi #4), an excerpt from Knight Landesman’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct (in his role as publisher of Artforum) partially obscures a reproduction of Susanna and the Elders (1610), by the Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–ca. 1652/3). Gentileschi was raped by an older artist her father had hired to be her painting tutor. By juxtaposing Landesman’s words with Gentileschi’s painting, which portrays the biblical story in which two male elders attempt to blackmail Susanna into sex, Tompkins alludes to the historical legacy of both the depiction and perpetuation of sexual violence in art.

Gentileschi is represented by a place setting in Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party (1974–79), the centerpiece of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
MEDIUM Acrylic on paper
DATES 2018
DIMENSIONS 11 × 8 1/2 in. (27.9 × 21.6 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 2018.21
CREDIT LINE Emily Winthrop Miles Fund and Robert A. Levinson Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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CAPTION Betty Tompkins (American, born 1945). Apologia (Artemesia Gentileschi #4), 2018. Acrylic on paper, 11 × 8 1/2 in. (27.9 × 21.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Emily Winthrop Miles Fund and Robert A. Levinson Fund, 2018.21. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: , 2018.21_PS9.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2018.21_PS9.jpg., 2018
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Betty Tompkins (American, born 1945). <em>Apologia (Artemesia Gentileschi #4)</em>, 2018. Acrylic on paper, 11 × 8 1/2 in. (27.9 × 21.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Emily Winthrop Miles Fund and Robert A. Levinson Fund, 2018.21. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: , 2018.21_PS9.jpg)