The Rubin Foundation Presents: Figures: Rajkamal Kahlon, Joiri Minaya, and Betty Tompkins

Visual Arts

Rajkamal Kahlon, Joiri Minaya, and Betty Tompkins

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
1 to 2:30pm EST

This event will be held on Zoom

Figures brings together Rajkamal Kahlon, Joiri Minaya, and Betty Tompkins in conversation about their works currently featured in our exhibition To Cast Too Bold A Shadow. Each artist uses appropriated historical source materials with particular intent: Kahlon’s paintings are based on 19th Century anthropological illustrations of women in colonized countries; Minaya draws from art historical paintings and images of exploitation on the internet; and Tompkins calls out misogyny, gender disparity and predatory behavior through her repurposing of old master paintings. The conversation will be moderated by Rubin Foundation Executive and Artistic Director Sara Reisman.

Access Information: This event includes live ASL interpretation and captioning.


Rajkamal Kahlon, a Berlin-based American artist, recuperates drawing and painting as sights of aesthetic and political resistance.The lingering spectre of colonialism and the aesthetics of western ethnography are continually brought into focus through strategies of interruption and collage. Drawing on history, archives and literature, Kahlon’s research submits archival sources to a process of creative transformation that result in sensual and humorous artworks that establish relations of  solidarity and care for racialized communities targeted for destruction.  In using her own hand in redrawing and repainting the bodies of “native” subjects, Kahlon allows for the rehabilitation of those bodies, histories and cultures that have been distorted, erased or maligned.

Joiri Minaya (1990) is a Dominican-United Statesian multi-disciplinary artist whose recent works focus on destabilizing historic and contemporary representations of an imagined tropical identity. Minaya attended the Escuela Nacional de Artes Visuales in Santo Domingo (2009), Altos de Chavón School of Design (2011) and Parsons the New School for Design (2013). She has participated in residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Guttenberg Arts, Smack Mellon, the Bronx Museum’s AIM Program and the NYFA Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists, Red Bull House of Art, the Lower East Side Printshop and Art Omi. She has been awarded a Socrates Sculpture Park Emerging Artist Fellowship as well as grants by Artadia, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation and the Nancy Graves Foundation. Minaya’s work is in the collection of the Museo de Arte Moderno and the Centro León Jiménes in the Dominican Republic.

In a career spanning five decades, Betty Tompkins (b. 1945) has been celebrated and scorned for her provocative feminist iconography. A pioneering artist, Tompkins is best known for her direct depictions of the female body, sexuality, and sexual desire. Tompkins has based her paintings on the tension of intimacy and representation of sexuality, rendering explicit scenes in monochromatic tones. Her radicalism in the late 60s led to the unfortunate censoring of her work and later a spotlight on her role in the American and European art scene. Her large-scale, hyper realistic figure paintings are made from erotic photographs and built layer by layer, using two airbrush nozzles to apply black and white acrylic. Her work is not meant to arouse fantasy but to transpose light and shade, the effect of the process enveloping the scene in sfumato. Text and language play a large role in Tompkins work, often driving the subject matter and concept of the piece.

She has presented solo exhibitions at The Flag Art Foundation, New York; J Hammond Projects, London; Ribordy Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland; and P.P.O.W, New York. Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection, The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY (2018); Histórias da sexualidade, Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), São Paolo, Brazil (2018); Black Sheep Feminism: The Art of Sexual Politics, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas (2016); and Elles, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011), among others.

Contact: Abby Addams