Frank Moore

          Docent Researcher Sabra Feldstein


    Dates of birth/death June 22, 1953 – April 21, 2002

     Place of Birth New York, He died of AIDS on April 21, 2002, aged 48.


1970 Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine

1971-75 B.A. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta       Kappa, Scholar of the House in Painting

1973 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine

1977-79 Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France (residency)      

     Major Shows/Galleries

2006 Paintings, Drawings and one Carpet MDG Fine Arts, London

2005 Political Nature Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

2003 Frank Moore Sperone Westwater - New York

2002 Frank Moore: Green Thumb in a Dark Eden Orlando Museum of Art, Florida

2001 Green on Greene Sperone Westwater - New York

1998 Frank Moore Sperone Westwater - New York

1995 Frank Moore Sperone Westwater - New York

1993 Frank Moore Sperone Westwater - New York


Moore also worked as a set designer for modern dance choreographer Jim Self in Manhattan.



     Media Painter

      Techniques "Painter with Activism on his Palette" New York Times


Contextual information

      Influences (historical/personal/political)

Deeply indebted to Surrealism, Moore's paintings frequently depict dream scenarios and futuristic landscapes, often with environmental sub-texts (in a picture-postcard Niagara Falls, chemical signatures of pollutants drift in the mist), or references to AIDS (in Viral Romance, 1992, a reversed bouquet blooms human immunodeficiency virus). His political stance was broad and nuanced with homoerotic imagery.


In 1985, Moore learned he was HIV positive. After his diagnosis, his

work increasingly grappled with issues around AIDS, environmental degradation, bioethics, homosexuality, and health care. He became a noted AIDS activist. As a founding member of Visual AIDS, he was instrumental in creating and launching the Red Ribbon Project, which became a worldwide symbol of AIDS awareness.


As Roberta Smith wrote in her obituary in the New York Times:

Mr. Moore saw both sides of most issues, knowing that the advances of genetic engineering were keeping him alive yet deploring their effects on agriculture and human health. Linking his interest in AIDS and the environment, he once told an interviewer, "You cannot have healthy people in an unhealthy environment, and you can't have a healthy environment where unhealthy—greedy, exploitative—people predominate"


The Gesso Foundation was created in accordance with the wishes expressed in the will of the acclaimed artist Frank Moore, who died in 2002. The Foundation’s purpose is twofold: to preserve, protect, and expand awareness of Frank Moore's art; and to support non-profit organizations devoted to the arts, social justice, environmental or AIDS-related causes.

Each year, the Board of Trustees awards grants to small organizations that

* support the work of emerging artists

* promote gay, lesbian, and transgender issues

* address the global AIDS crisis

* help those live with HIV/AIDS

* work to improve the environment.

Grants generally range from $2,500 to $25,000, and the Board focuses on small, innovative groups for whom the Foundation's limited funds can have a major impact.


Amazon, Book on Frank Moore, Images of work


Interview from Artist in the Archives

RA: I see a trajectory in the subject matter of your work from gay issues like coming out, to AIDS issues and then to environmental issues, which of course impact especially hard on PWAs. Is this a gross simplification?

FM: If there is a trajectory in my work it is a really messy one. The first paintings I showed in New York in 1981 were inspired by life insurance advertisements--picture a window shattering into your living room at night. There were also sharks swimming around people as seen from below. Threatening. This remains a flavor in the work, although it's much less pronounced. During the eighties I dealt with a variety of subjects, including gay issues, but there was always a focus on nature both as Eden and as a language we communicate with. At the end of the decade AIDS came to the fore simply because it was affecting every aspect of my life.

RA: Another trajectory I see is toward increasing complexity at a visual and conceptual level.

FM: Some of the paintings have been getting dense. I think it started with a painting called "Arena" (1992) which was kind of a breakthrough for me. I decided to represent everything in my life at that moment, every aspect of the image would directly correlate with something that was actually happening to me. Robert, who had passed away the year before, was at the center of the picture having a Port-a-Cath implanted. There were so many parts to that painting, but I knew that on some level for me they were all true. It was the same way with "Wizard" (1994) which portrayed a doctor I was seeing in Marseille, Jean-Claude Chermann. These pictures began to feel like novels.


Interview with Artist, Frank Moore: A Man of Fancy and Facts


New York artist Frank Moore is a man of fancies and facts turned into magic. His paintings-as visionary as they are realistic--address contemporary ecological and biological issues with intensity, austerity, and wit-and often with a sense of political morality. His interest in, and knowledge of, science, grew out of a childhood immersion in nature and adolescent environmental concerns that were then amplified by his personal need to learn all he could about the crisis that befell him when diagnosed with HIV in the early 1980s. His work is suffused with scientific themes and symbols that reflect his hope of helping to "preserve diverse life forms on this earth."