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Guide to the Frank Moore Papers, 1971-2003 MSS.135

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Tania Friedel (August 2003); Jessica Shimmin (May-December 2004); Luke Martin (2008), Brent Phillips (2008) updated by Zachary Dabbs (2009)

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 24, 2020
Finding aid written in English

 Record updated by Rachel Searcy to reflect 2020 accretion  , September 2020

Biographical Note

Frank Moore (1953-2002) is best known for his hyperrealist symbolic paintings that address junctures between social, environmental, medical, and scientific issues. Through painting Moore explored the dissonance between the medical benefits of genetic engineering and the ecological costs. He combined these themes with a painting style that favored bright colors and magical realism. In addition, Moore created intricate frames to complement the paintings. For example, the Niagara paintings have frames of piping and spigots referencing the re-routing of the water to a hydroelectric power plant as well as human consumption of polluted water. These characteristics lead The New York Times to describe Frank Moore as "a painter and AIDS activist whose jewel-like allegories brought beauty and bite to the themes of scientific progress, environmental pollution and the medical establishment."

Frank Moore was born on June 22, 1953 in New York City. He grew up on Long Island and in the Adirondacks, his childhood summer home. In 1970, at the age of 17 he attended the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine. In 1975 he graduated from Yale University with honors and a degree in art and psychology. After college he moved to New York City, where he studied decorative art materials and techniques while working at the Isabel O'Neil School of the Painted Finish. In 1977 he received a two-year residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France. When he returned to New York in 1979 he began designing sets and costumes for the choreographer Jim Self. Their collaboration lasted until the late 1980's and included several dance-based experimental films such as "Beehive", which won a Bessie in 1985. Moore created set designs and costumes for numerous theatrical and dance companies and performances including the Joffrey Ballet. Through these films and performances Moore explored themes of jealousy, passion and the supernatural in combination with his fascination with nature and the environment.

Moore's first one-person exhibition was in 1983 at The Clocktower in Tribeca. In 1992, Moore was selected to be represented by Sperone Westwater, a prominent NYC gallery. In 1995 his work was selected to be exhibited in the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial. Moore's work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Albright Knox Art Gallery and the New York Public Library. Moore was also the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and Art Matters. In 1999 he received the Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Moore continues to be represented by the Sperone Westwater Gallery in New York.

Moore was a key player in several AIDS organizations and art related projects including Visual AIDS, the artists' faction of ACT UP. While working with the group in 1991, Moore played a significant role in creating the AIDS red ribbon. The accessory helped raise a great deal of public awareness about AIDS and a great deal of money to fight AIDS as well as inspiring similar ribbons in other colors for other causes. Moore was also instrumental in the development of the Estate Project which works to document and preserve works created by people with AIDS in all artistic disciplines.

Prior to his death in April 2002, Frank Moore established the Gesso Foundation ( Through this organization Moore ensured that his artwork continues to impact discourse on the environment and social issues. His life and his vision are contained within the organization's mission statement, "Frank Moore established the Gesso Foundation to place his art for maximum public benefit, and to support organizations concerned with the arts, social justice, environmental and AIDS-related causes."

  1. One Person Exhibitions
  2. 1983, "The Birds and the Bees," The Clocktower, New York (paintings)
  3. 1984, "Recent Paintings," Christminster Gallery, New York
  4. 1985, "Drawings for the Theater," Abbaye Royale a Fontevraud, France
  5. 1988, "Recent Paintings," Paula Allen Gallery, New York
  6. 1989, "Recent Paintings," Paula Allen Gallery, New York
  7. 1990, "Recent Paintings," Paula Allen Gallery, New York
  8. 1993, Sperone Westwater, New York, 9 - 30 January
  9. 1995, Sperone Westwater, New York, 25 March - 22 April (catalogue)
  10. 1996, "Nature/Culture and the postmodern Sublime," Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, 13-28 April
  11. 1996, Galleria Gian Enzo Sperone, Rome, November-December (catalogue)
  12. 1998 Sperone Westwater, New York, 28 March-25 April (catalogue)
  13. 2002-03 "Frank Moore, Green Thumb in a Dark Eden," Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (catalogue)
  14. 2003 "Frank Moore," Sperone Westwater, 12 September- 25 October
  1. Selected Group Exhibitions, Film Screenings and Theater Work
  2. 1979
  3. Poetry Room, P.S. 1 Museum, Long Island City, Queens. Curated by Steve Hamilton. Exhibition includes a book collaboration with poet Brad Gooch and designer Laurie Hastreiter, produced at the Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France.
  4. 1980
  5. Watercolor Show, P.S. 1 Museum, Long Island City, Queens. Curated by Donald Droll
  6. Childhood Show, Jungle Red Studios, New York. curated by Allan Frame
  7. Summer Invitational, The Drawing Center, New York
  8. "Domestic Interlude," "Uproots," "Marking Time," and "Scraping Bottoms," (Collaboration with Jim Self) Presented at: The Cunningham Studio, June; Dance Theater Workshop, October; The Whitney Downtown, September; The Grey Gallery, December; Moming, December.
  9. "Domestic Interlude," "Uproots," "Marking Time," and "Scraping Bottoms," (Collaboration with Jim Self) Presented at: The Cunningham Studio, June; Dance Theater Workshop, October; The Whitney Downtown, September; The Grey Gallery, December; Moming, December.
  10. 1981
  11. Frank Moore and George Negroponte, Brooke Alexander, New York
  12. Blacklight Show, Club 57, New York
  13. Erotic Art Show, Club 57, New York
  14. 7/3/7, White Columns, New York, curated by Ted Greenwald
  15. Lower Manhattan Drawing Show, Mudd Club, New York, curated by Keith Haring
  16. New York/New Wave, P.S. 1 Museum, Long Island City, Queens, curated by Diego Cortez
  17. "Blue Grotto," (collaboration with Jim Self and Ellen Kogan) commissioned by the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, Lennox, Mass. premiered in July
  18. "Scraping Bottoms," program (collaboration with Jim Self) presented at the American Center, Paris, France in June and at the Holland Dance Festival
  19. 1982
  20. Beasts, Institute for Art and Urban Resources (P.S.1) Long Island City, Queens
  21. Selections, Artists Space, New York
  22. Crosscurrents, Aaron Berman Gallery, New York
  23. New Drawing in America, The Drawing Center, New York
  24. "Blue Grotto," presented at the Riverside Dance Festival in May (collaboration with Jim Self and Ellen Kogan)
  25. Broccoli, La Mamounia, and Poverty in the Penthouse, theater collaboration with John Heys and Butch Walker presented at the Open Gate Theater, New York
  26. 1983
  27. Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Gallery, Greensboro, N.C.
  28. Summer Group Show, John Weber Gallery, New York
  29. New York Work, Studio 10, Chur, Switzerland and Keltenkeller, Zurich, Switzerland
  30. "Beehive pas de Deux," (collaboration with Jim Self) presented at the Kitchen in May
  31. 1984
  32. Private Mythologies, P.S. 122, New York
  33. Summer Group Show, Cable Gallery, New York
  34. Artists Design for the Theater, Phillippe Bonnafont Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
  35. Lower East Side Galleries, Artist Space, New York
  36. 1985
  37. Artists in the Theater, BACA Downtown, Brooklyn, NY
  38. "Beehive," film shown at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Bessie Award), at the Public Theater, N.Y., at the Cinemateque Francaise, Paris, France; and as part of an Asian Tour of films from the Cinematheque collection organized by Patrick Bonsard.
  39. "Beehive," film and Ballet commissioned by the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine d'Angers, France, premiering in June
  40. 1986
  41. In Black and White, Ted Greenwald Gallery, New York
  42. Dike Blair, Paul McMahon, Frank Moore, Christminster Gallery, New York
  43. Twelve in New York, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
  44. "Splatter," (collaboration with Charles Moulton), presented at P.S. 122, New York
  45. 1987
  46. Unreal: Conceptual Realism, Alexander Wood Gallery, New York
  47. "Beehive" Ballet commissioned by the Boston Ballet; a collaboration with Jim Self and Scott Johnson, which premiered at the Wang Center, Boston, in March
  48. "The Miller's Wife" film production and performance in residence at P.S. 1, Queens, September - December
  49. "Camellia" (collaboration with Jim Self and A. Leroy) presented at the Dance Theater Workshop in April, premiered at the Bama Theater, Tuscaloosa Alabama, in April
  50. "Beehive" film shown at the Shakespeare Theater, Boston
  51. "Beehive" also shown at the Dance on Camera Festival, Donnell Film Library, New York, and on Alabama Public T.V.
  52. 1988
  53. "Crankhouse" and "Beehive" (Dance/Theater work and film) presented at the Upstate of the Arts Festival, Binghampton, N.Y.
  54. "Crankhouse" (collaboration with Jim Self) premieres at Dance Theater Workshop, New York
  55. "Beehive" film presented at Moming, Chicago, and at the United States Film Festival, Provo, Utah
  56. 1988-1990
  57. Panelist, Visual Artists Program, New York State Council on the Arts
  58. 1989
  59. The City/The Spirit, exhibition curated by Ken Tisa at the Paula Allen Gallery, New York
  60. "Beehive" film shown at the Film Forum, New York, December and on "Eye on Dance," Channel 13, New York
  61. Panelist, Film Program, New York State Council on the Arts
  62. Panelist, Film Program, New York State Council on the Arts
  63. 1990
  64. Work on Paper, Paula Allen Gallery, New York
  65. Art as Object/ Object as Art, Springs Art Gallery, East Hampton, N.Y.
  66. "Offstage Attitudes," curator -- exhibition of art by performance artists held at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Alice Tully hall, as part of the "Serious Fun!" Festival
  67. "Ball Passing," collaboration with Charles Moulton for the Joffrey Ballet to premier at Lincoln Center (The New York State Theater) in March, 1991
  68. "Ball Passing," collaboration with Charles Moulton for the Joffrey Ballet to premier at Lincoln Center (The New York State Theater) in March, 1991
  69. 1990 Portrait Show, P.S. 122 Gallery, New York
  70. AIDS Forum, Artist Space, New York
  71. SAFE Portfolio, print commissioned by Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger to benefit the Special Arts Fund For Emergencies.
  72. Panelist, Theater Program, New York State Council on the Arts
  73. Member, Steering Committee, AIDS Working Group, National Endowment for the Arts
  74. 1991
  75. Panelist, Theater Program, New York State Council on the Arts
  76. Panelist, Policy Retreat at Snug Harbor, New York State Council on the Arts
  77. Lecturer, The School of Visual Arts
  78. 1992-1994
  79. From Media to Metaphor--Art about AIDS, Independent Curators Inc., show curated by Thomas Sokolowski and Robert Atkins. Travelling to: Emerson Gallery, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA.; Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA.; Musee d'Art Contemporain de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, Fl.; McKissisk Museum, The University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina; Fine Art Gallery, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA.; Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York University, New York (catalogue)
  80. Slow Art, Institute for Art and Urban Resources, Long Island City, Queens, N.Y. (curated by Alanna Heiss)
  81. Private Public, Betty Rymer Gallery, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL.
  82. Board Member, Visual AIDS
  83. "Day Without Art, December 1, 1992," poster design for Visual AIDS Artist's Caucus
  84. 1993
  85. "The Spirit of Drawing," Sperone Westwater, 121 Greene St., New York, 1 May - 12 June
  86. 1993-1994
  87. "Thema: AIDS," Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway, 8 May - 20 June, 1993; and travelled to: Bergens Kunstforening, Bergen, Norway; Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum, Hagen, The Netherlands, 30 November 1993 - 9 January 1994. (catalogue)
  88. "The Figure as Fiction," The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH., 4 December 1993 - 23 January 1994. (catalogue)
  89. 1994
  90. "Fallen Idylls: American Figurative Painting," Art Miami '94, International Art Exposition, Miami, January 5 - 9; and The Cultural Center of the Martin County Council for the Arts, Stuart, Florida, January 14 - March 1 1994.
  91. "Fallen Idylls: American Figurative Painting," Art Miami '94, International Art Exposition, Miami, January 5 - 9; and The Cultural Center of the Martin County Council for the Arts, Stuart, Florida, January 14 - March 1 1994.
  92. "Fierce! NYC," PS122 Gallery, New York, 21 June - 30 June
  93. "Fierce! NYC," PS122 Gallery, New York, 21 June - 30 June
  94. "Water Works," Ed Thorp Gallery, New York, May-June
  95. 1994-1995
  96. "Bodies Under Fire," Tyler Gallery, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, November 16 - January 13 (brochure)
  97. "Bodies Under Fire," Tyler Gallery, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, November 16 - January 13 (brochure)
  98. "Insight," David Beitzel Gallery, New York, June 22 - July 28
  99. 1995
  100. "Narrative," James Graham and Sons Inc, New York, November 9 - December 23
  101. 1996
  102. "Arts Communities, Aids Communities: Realizing the Archive Project," Boston Center for the Arts, February-March
  103. "Changing Horizons: Landscape on the Eve of the Millennium," Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY, 28 July - 29 September
  104. "Innovation: American Art of Today from the Misumi Art Collection," Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, Kawamura, Japan, 14 September - 4 November (catalogue)
  105. 1996-1997
  106. "A Living Testament of the Blood Fairies," Artists Space, 9 November-4 January (curated by Frank Moore, Sur Rodney Sur, and Geoff Hendricks; catalogue)
  107. 1998
  108. "Pollution," Gian Ferrari Arte Contemporanea, Milan, 22 January-7 March (catalogue)
  109. "Salon: Selections from the Archive Project," National Arts Club, New York, February
  110. "Wishful Thinking," James Graham and Sons, New York, 16 July-11 September
  111. "Summer exhibition," Debs and Co., New York, 9-31 July
  112. "Sea Change," The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, 13 September-15 November (catalogue)
  113. 1998-1999
  114. "The Choice [Aaron Cobbett; Michael Combs]," Exit Art, New York, 14 November-2 January (curated by Frank Moore)
  115. "After Nature," Herter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1 December -22 January (catalogue)
  116. 1999
  117. "Twenty Years of the Grenfell Press," Paul Morris Gallery, New York, 8 July - August
  118. 1999-2000
  119. "Bodies of Resistance," Organized by Visual AIDS in collaboration with Real Art Ways, curated by Barbara Hunt, Real Art Ways, Hartford's Center for Contemporary Culture, Hartford, Connecticut, 1 December, 1999 - 30 January, 2000; KNSA Gallery, Durban, South Africa, July 2000
  120. "I'm Not Here: Constructing Identity at the Turn of the Century," Curated by Sean Mellyn and Jonathan VanDyke, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA, 2 December 1999 - 24 February 2000 (catalogue)
  121. 2000
  122. "1999 Drawings," Alexander and Bonin, New York, 11 December 1999- 22 January 2000
  123. "Arte Americana; Ultimo Decennio," Museo d'Arte della Citta di Ravenna, Ravenna, 8 April - 25 June 2000 (catalogue)
  124. "Post Pop," Curated by Jonathan VanDyke, The Susquehanna Art Museum, Project Room, Harrisburg, PA, 7 June 2000 - 30 June 2000
  125. "Paradise Now," Curated by Marvin Hieferman and Carole Kismaric, Exit Art, New York, 9 September - 28 October 2000
  126. 2000-2001
  127. "Art on Paper 2000," Weatherspoon Art Gallery, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 19 November 2000 - 14 January 2001 (catalogue)
  128. "1989," Curt Marcus Gallery, New York, 30 November 2000 - 6 January 2001
  129. 2001
  130. "Bugs, Bugs, Bugs...," Pace Prints, New York, 30 July - 7 September 2001
  131. "Green on Greene," Sperone Westwater, New York, 1 November – 15 December 2001 (Catalogue)
  132. "Postcards from the Edge," Sara Meltzer Gallery, 18 November 2001
  133. 2002
  134. "Rapture: Art's seduction by fashion since 1970," Barbican Art Gallery, London, 10 October –31 December
  135. 2003
  136. "The Buddhism Project: Art, Buddhism, and Contemporary Culture," Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor, Staten Island
  137. "Genomic Issue(s): Art and Science," Graduate Center Art Gallery, City University of New York, New York City, February 25 - April 2003.
  138. Writings on Art by Frank Moore
  139. "Options and Alternative," essays on Richard Serra and Robert Breer for exhibition catalogue (New Haven, CT: University Art Gallery Yale, 1974)
  140. "On Taste," Tracks magazine, 1976.
  141. "George Negroponte," Arts Magazine, November 1976.
  142. "Better Homes and Gardens," New Observations Magazine, no. 21, 1983.
  143. "Paint by Number," essay to accompany an exhibition held at Christminster Gallery, New York, 1985.
  144. "Offstage Attitudes," essay to accompany the exhibition held at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln enter, New York as part of the Serious Fun! Festival, July-August 1990.
  145. "The Archive Project: A Large Vision," in Arts/Aids Communities (New York: Visual Aids, 1996), pp. 22-23.
  146. "Something's Coming," Paradise Now, The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY, 2000, pp. 26-29.