Frank Moore

Born 1953
Hometown New York, NY
Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France, 1979
Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1975

Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

New York Public Library, New York, NY

A performance artist, writer, mystic, Net Art pioneer, and punk rock musician, Frank Moore was a groundbreaking figure not only in early video and performance art but also in DIY culture and erotic liberation—he was, simply put, at the forefront of all around free living. Moore was born in 1953 with cerebral palsy, which severely limited his physical movement; nevertheless, he persevered and became an inspiring intellectual and artistic presence in the Bay Area during the latter part of the 20th century. In the late 1980s and early ’90s, in fact, Moore came under fire for his participatory performances that featured a great deal of nudity. Deemed “obscene” by Senator Jesse Helms, Moore, along with artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe and David Wojnarowicz, was at the center of one of the art world's most heated controversies, accused of using NEA grants to create sexuality explicit and/or queer work. 

Moore's ritualistic performances are noted for their shamanistic qualities and their execution of “eroplay,” erotic playing between adults that is more preoccupied with fun and experimentation than with intercourse or orgasm. Moore also seized quickly on the emergent Internet, publishing online magazines, his video catalogue, and essays, among other things.

Moore died in late 2013 from complications of pneumonia. He was 67 years old and had worked in an exceptionally prolific manner throughout his life. He was the recipient of a 1985 NEA Fellowship for Performance Art and several prestigious West Coast performing arts awards. In 1988 he was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Film. Moore’s work has been exhibited in New York at both the Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum, and his writings and videos continue to be published and screened around the world.

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