Frank Moore at Grey Art Gallery

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The Great American Traveling Medicine Show

“The Great American Traveling Medicine Show,” 1990-91, Frank Moore, oil on board

I had forgotten about Frank Moore’s paintings until this past fall when Martha Wilson invited me a long to a meeting with Fales Library director Marvin Taylor. Marvin is an amazing cultural resource, a big fan of the Lower East Side arts movements of the 70s and 80s, he’s a guy filled with interesting stories. (To learn more about Marvin Taylor, visit Betty Ling Miu’s blog.) Before the meeting, Marvin asked Martha and I to sit down and watch “Beehive” a 1985 experimental dance film directed by Frank Moore and Jim Self. For the making of the film Frank Moore transformed his studio into an elaborate bee hive in which the dancers perform the elaborate lives of bees. Following the meeting, Marvin dropped us off at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery to see “Toxic Beauty: The Art of Frank Moore,” a retrospective that continues from the Fales Library special collections to the street level gallery across Washington Square Park.

It had been over a decade since I had seen “Beehive” or spent time with Frank Moore’s paintings and I immediately recalled how much these paintings inspired me during undergraduate years at UC Berkley. The paintings are detailed, elaborately portraying societal shortcomings. An element that strongly stands out in Frank Moore’s paintings is the construction of frames that are thematically tied to the paintings. Each painting has its own unique frame from copper water pipes to a frame wrapped with collaged maps. The exhibition captures how prolific Frank Moore was until he died of AIDS at the age of 48. Roberta Smith wrote an excellent review of the exhibition for the NY Times.

Arena

“Arena,” 1992, Frank Moore, oil and silkscreen on canvas mounted on wood in antique gilded frame

Freedom to Share

“Freedom to Share,” 1994, oil and glass beads on canvas mounted on wood

Pearline

“Pearline” 1991, Frank Moore, oil on canvas in antique gilded frame

Oz

“Oz,” 1999-2000, Frank Moore, oil and silkscreen on canvas mounted on featherboard with frame constructed of printed road map on aluminum

Niagara

“Niagara,” 1994-95, Frank Moore, oil and silkscreen on canvas mounted on wood in frame constructed from metal faucet knobs and copper pipe

Written by ricardo

January 7th, 2013 at 11:09 am