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Saturday, October 18, 2008

In/Visible Is Up: It’s Betty Tompkins on Making Fuck Paintings Since 1969

posted by on October 18 at 10:00 AM

And there’s definitely a NSFW image if you click here.

Tompkins began making Fuck paintings in 1969. It was the height of minimalism and conceptual art, so she thought she’d try calling them Joined Forms. She eventually dropped the act and just called them Fuck paintings, adding Dick paintings and Cunt paintings, too.

What keeps a woman working on photorealistic paintings of hard-core heterosexual pornography for 40 years? Well, she did take a break in the late 70s and early 80s to make works that were all text, of which she says: “I bored myself silly, so I went back to sex.”

Listen to her talk about her quick rise, her years as an art-world exile, her comeback, her repeated brushes with censorship.

In person her works can be surprisingly tender; they can also be harsh and cold in the Chuck Close way (some are created by stamping words on the canvas rather than with brush strokes).

I’m sorry to say that her show of paintings and drawings (especially two exquisite drawings created in the 1970s with a Dremel tool, which she only knew to be called a “flexible shaft,” causing some great innocent doublespeak), at Lawrimore Project is only up through today, October 18. (We tried to do this interview earlier, but because of scheduling conflicts and illness, we just couldn’t.)

Her own web site is here.

Here is an image she alludes to in the podcast, her single homage in all these years to the breast. This one is called Fuck Grid #32:


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Photorealism? She should work for Marvel comics...

Posted by Sirkowski | October 18, 2008 1:06 PM

Someone has to do it.

Posted by Vince | October 18, 2008 1:31 PM

I saw one of her pieces at the Pompidou in Paris a few years ago, and it was way less provocative to the French than the giant guillotine with the word "CHANEL" painted over and over on it. That got teeth gnashing!

Posted by Sonya | October 19, 2008 2:53 PM

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