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Betty Tompkins, Fuck Painting #52, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 60 × 84". From the series “Fuck,” 1969–.

Betty Tompkins

GAVLAK | Los Angeles

Betty Tompkins, Fuck Painting #52, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 60 × 84". From the series “Fuck,” 1969–.

It is at the very least unfortunate—other less anodyne adjectives spring to mind—that it has taken so many years for Betty Tompkins’s paintings to garner the visibility they presently enjoy. Deservedly, much press accompanied the septuagenarian artist’s recent shows in New York—in 2015 at Bruce High Quality Foundation University’s project space FUG, and in 2016 at FLAG Art Foundation. Many writers have offered guesses as to what caused the delay, with the majority citing the sexually explicit nature of her seminal (as it were) “Fuck” paintings and the gender of their maker. Tompkins began the “Fuck” series in 1969 using then-vintage straight-male-porn clippings as source materials for her softened, if otherwise almost photorealistic, grayscale paintings of all kinds of sexual contact, including penetration. In 2002, the Mitchell Algus Gallery showed these paintings

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