X-rated art is, of course, nothing new. Now, though, some of the most revelatory art on sexual themes is being made by women like Bernstein, Betty Tompkins, Juanita McNeely and Joan Semmel, best known for their paintings, and multidisciplinary artists like Schneemann and Valie Export, among others, all of whom have been producing their work for decades to little notice — if not outright persecution — from critics, curators and audiences. Their latent recognition is both a reflection of the political moment and a response to it. For years, they were at best ignored as lurid curiosities, though the reception was occasionally more severe. In , two of the paintings were seized by French customs when Tompkins was shipping them to Paris for a show. It was a career death sentence; even the bravest venues were reluctant — and arguably still are — to exhibit an artist who alienates patrons or the press.
Radical Eroticism: Women, Art, and Sex in the 1960s
Reviewed By: Miriam Kienle. Berkeley: University of California Press, ; pp. During the sexual revolution of the s, erotic art in the United States fueled debates about sexual liberation, the nude body, and the gendered dynamics of visual pleasure; however, art-historical literature on the genre is scant, particularly on art made by women.