Artist Betty Tompkins Uses Words Against Women to Fight Back


Artist Betty Tompkins has been painting text-based works of demeaning words and phrases used to describe women from 2002-2015. In response to the #MeToo Movement, the artist is using her work in a new exhibition, “Will She Ever Shut Up?” However, different from her previous exhibitions, not only do the works feature words against women, but labored apologies of men accused of sexual assault as well. Tompkin also uses feminist paintings from art history, such as Artemisia Gentileschi’s work, as subjects for her work. The exhibition is on view at PPOW Gallery in New York City until December 22.

For Further Reading

Look through Tompkins’ works currently exhibited at PPOW Gallery.

Discussion Question

What speaks to you more personally—the works of text with derogatory words against women or the ones with apologies by accused sexual offenders?


Action Item

Think of a historic artwork you would like revive in a feminist context. What would you add? Decide if you would you use words to get your point across or visual representations.

Read more on Artnet| Image: Betty Tompkins, Apologia (Artemisia Gentileschi #3), 2018. Photo courtesy of PPOW.