Feminism in the Art World: Artist Betty Tompkins and Art Dealer Sara Kay

Betty Tompkins and Sara Kay recording at Betty Tompkins's studio
Betty Tompkins and Sara Kay recording at Betty Tompkins’s studio

Welcome to Round Table, a podcast by A Women’s Thing on women who are changing the faces of their industries.

Host: Allison Geller
Sound Editor: Alicia Barrett

In this podcast, we’re talking about art. More specifically, women in the contemporary art world—how things have changed for them since decades past, and where we still have room to grow. We’ve brought together two women who represent different sides of that world: artist Betty Tompkins and art dealer Sara Kay. We’re meeting now in Betty’s loft in Soho, New York City, a few blocks away from Sara Kay gallery, which Sara opened just last year, in part to give female artists the recognition she feels they deserve.

As a bit of background, these two women are particularly qualified to talk about art and feminism for different reasons. Betty has been in the New York art scene since the 1970s, when, as a recent art school graduate, she began making large-scale paintings inspired by her husband’s porn magazines. These paintings went basically unnoticed for decades, until Betty got a mysterious call from an art dealer in 2002. As for Sara, in addition to promoting the work of female artists, she’s the founder of the Professional Organization for Women in the Arts, a nonprofit that brings together female art professionals to help them share skills and advice. Later this year POWarts will release data from the first-ever salary survey focused on the visual arts.

“I had another husband once and anytime anything happened good for me, he had a personal crisis.” —Betty Tompkins
Behind the scenes: Sara Kay and Betty Tompkins
Behind the scenes: Sara Kay and Betty Tompkins
Betty Tompkins and Sara Kay recording
Betty Tompkins and Sara Kay recording
Betty Tompkins's husband
Betty Tompkins’s husband
Betty Tompkins's drawings 03
Betty Tompkins’s drawings 03
Betty Tompkins's art studio
Betty Tompkins’s art studio
Betty Tompkins's art studio
Betty Tompkins’s art studio
Podcast with Betty Tompkins and Sara Kay
Podcast with Betty Tompkins and Sara Kay

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