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Frank Moore (performance artist)

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Frank Moore
Frank Moore in front of the Art Institute of Chicago 1991 photograph by Linda Mac
Frank James Moore

June 25, 1946
DiedOctober 14, 2013(2013-10-14) (aged 67)
Known forPerformance artist

Frank James Moore (June 25, 1946 – October 14, 2013) was an American performance artist,[1] shaman, poet,[2] essayist,[3] painter, musician[4] and Internet/television personality who experimented in art,[5] performance,[1] ritual,[6] and shamanistic teaching since the late 1960s.

Moore was one of the NEA-funded artists targeted by Jesse Helms and the GAO (General Accounting Office) in the early 1990s for creating art that was labeled "obscene".[7] He was featured in the 1988 cult film Mondo New York, which chronicled the leading performance artists of that period.

Life and career[edit]

Moore was born with cerebral palsy, could not walk or talk, and communicated using a laser-pointer and a board of letters, numbers, and commonly used words. Using his pointer, he wrote books, directed plays, directed, acted in and edited films, and regularly gave poetry readings. Moore played piano, sang in ensemble music jams, and led bands in hard core punk clubs all along the West Coast of the United States until his death. He also produced, and exhibited across the United States and Canada, a large collection of original oil and digital paintings.

Moore was known for his long (5–48 hours) ritualistic performances with audience participation, nudity, and eroticism.[8] His writings on performance,[3] art,[9] life,[10][11][12] and cultural subversion,[13] and his performance/video archive on Vimeo.com seen by over 32 million people, further influence Moore's legacy.

Moore coined the word "eroplay" to describe physical play between adults released from the linear goals of sex and orgasm.[14] He explored this and similar concepts in performance and ritual as a way for people to connect on a deeper level beyond the social and cultural expectations and limitations.[15]

Frank Moore first came to be known in the 1970s as the creator of the popular cabaret show, the "Outrageous Beauty Revue". In the 1980s Moore attended the San Francisco Art Institute where he earned his M.F.A. in Performance/Video in 1983.[16] At this school Moore discovered that the work that he had been doing for over a decade was called performance art.[17] In 1992 he was voted Best Performance Artist by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. In the early 1990s Moore was targeted by Senator Jesse Helms.[1][18] From 1991 to 1999 Moore published and edited the underground zine The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary.[19][20]

In addition to his books, Cherotic Magic, Art of a Shaman, Chapped Lap, Skin Passion and numerous other self-published pieces, Moore was widely published in various art and other periodicals. In artist Pamela Kay Walker's book, Moving Over the Edge, Moore is one of the artists featured as having "greatly impacted me and many people through their artistic expression and their lives."[5]

Moore's award-winning video works have shown throughout North America, and in 2001 he began producing shows for Berkeley's public access channel, Berkeley Community Media, Channel 28.[21] His shows continue to play several times each week.

In 2011, Moore launched his online performance and video retrospective on Vimeo. At the same time he created the “Nude Performance Art, Dance and Video: EROART” group on Vimeo featuring videos by eroart artists from across the world.[22] Eroart is a word coined by Frank Moore to describe art that embraces nudity, eroticism, sexuality, physical play, love, the body, passion for life, pleasure, and is distinguished from pornography.[23][24] The word eroart first appears in an essay by Moore written in 1984, “Eroplay in Life and Art”, then in “Eroart” (1984), and later in “Eroart Not Porn” (1986).[25][26][24]

Moore's Vimeo account was terminated by Vimeo in August 2019. Starting that same month, all of the videos have been moved to the Frank Moore Archives on the Internet Archive.[27]

Frank Moore's Web of All Possibilities features a growing archive of his audio, video, visual and written work, as well as the work of other artists. He founded Love Underground Visionary Revolution (LUVeR) in 1999, a webstation combining live streaming and on-demand libraries of audio and video programming,[19] described by Moore as a "non-corporate, d.i.y., totally uncensored, noncommercial, nonprofit internet-only communal collective with 24-hour 'live' programming (by amazing people) with 'no-limits' content." LUVeR ran until 2012.

In 2006, Moore announced his candidacy for the 2008 election for President of the United States.[28] He became a qualified write-in candidate in 25 states. His campaign was responsible for reforming the write-in candidate qualifications and procedures in many states. His platform videos are available on YouTube.

Moore also hosted his regular internet show, Frank Moore's Shaman's Den, from August 1998 until May 2013. Moore describes it as a show that "will arouse, inspire, move, threaten you, not with sound bites, but with a two-hour (usually longer) feast of live streaming video. You might get an in-studio concert of bands from around the world...or poetry reading...or an in-depth conversation about politics, art, music, and LIFE with extremely dangerous people! But then you may see beautiful women naked dancing erotically. You never know, because you are in The Shaman's Den with Frank Moore." Video and audio archives of all of these Shaman's Den shows are available online.

Frank Moore died of pneumonia on October 14, 2013.[29] He performed regularly in the San Francisco Bay Area up until his death.

Influence and legacy[edit]

Performance artist Annie Sprinkle considers Moore one of her teachers,[30] and Moore performed with a host of performance and underground punk figures since the 1970s.[31] including Barbara Smith, Linda Sibio, The Feederz, and Dirk Dirksen - The Pope of Punk.[32]

Frank Moore's life and art are now documented in a web video series called Let Me Be Frank.[33]

As of September 2017, Frank Moore's work is archived at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.[34] The collection is titled “Frank Moore papers, approximately 1970-2013.”[35]

In April 2018, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) accepted two of Frank's oil paintings into their permanent collection: Mariah (1977), and Patti Smith (1979).[36][37]

In 2019, a collection of Frank Moore's work was archived at the Performistanbul Live Art Research Space in Istanbul, Turkey.[38][39]

As of November 2022, a documentary film about Frank Moore by Keith Wilson is currently in production and is expected to premiere in 2024.[40]

In January 2023, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) mounted a solo exhibition of Frank Moore’s oil paintings titled Frank Moore/MATRIX 280: Theater of Human Melting. The exhibition ran from January 25 through April 23, 2023 and was curated by Vincent Fecteau and Keith Wilson.[41][42][43]


  1. ^ a b c Carr, C. (2008). On Edge: Performance at the End of the Twentieth Century. Wesleyan. pp. XXI, 138–140. ISBN 978-0819568885.
  2. ^ Williams, Michael B.; Krezman, Carole Jane, eds. (2000). Beneath The Surface, Creative Expressions of Augmented Communicators, ISAAC Series, Volume 2. PointOne Graphics Inc. ISBN 978-0968418611.
  3. ^ a b "Art Papers Contemporary Art in the South East Magazine". Art Papers Contemporary Art in the South East Magazine. Vol. 13, no. 6. New York City. June 1989.
  4. ^ Armstrong, R.D. (1999). "A Journey Up the Coast". On/Off The Beaten Path: The Road Poems. Lummox Press. ISBN 978-1929878994.
  5. ^ a b Walker, Pamela Kay (2005). Moving Over the Edge: Artists with Disabilities Take the Leap. Davis, California: Michael Horton Media. pp. 54–69. ISBN 0-9771505-2-6.
  6. ^ Knox, Kelly W. "Imagination: The Art of Transformation". Archived from the original on 2011-08-30.
  7. ^ Dubin, S. (1994). Arresting Images: Impolitic Art and Uncivil Actions. Routledge. p. 149. ISBN 978-0415908931.
  8. ^ Dubin, S. (1994). Arresting Images: Impolitic Art and Uncivil Actions. Routledge. p. 155. ISBN 978-0415908931.
  9. ^ Kaplan, Rachel; Hennessy, Keith, eds. (1995). More Out Than In: Notes on sex, art & community. Abundant Fuck Publications. ISBN 978-1881430513.
  10. ^ Moore, Frank. Cherotic Magic Revised, Inter-Relations, 2015. ISBN 978-1515240181
  11. ^ Moore, Frank. Art Of Living from Frankly Speaking; A Collection of Essays, Writings and Rants, Inter-Relations, 2014. Pgs.22-24 ISBN 978-1495443381
  12. ^ Smith, Barbara. "Cherotic Magic by Frank Moore". eroplay.com. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  13. ^ Moore, Frank. "Cultural Subversion". eroplay.com. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  14. ^ Brown, Steven (2003). Movie Stars and Sensuous Scars: Essays on the Journey from Disability Shame to Disability Pride. iUniverse, Inc. pp. 130–133. ISBN 978-0595288939.
  15. ^ Burch, S. (2009). Encyclopedia of American Disability History. Facts on File. ISBN 978-0816070305.
  16. ^ "Frank Moore's Resume". Eroplay.com. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  17. ^ Moore, Frank (28 December 2016). "Sol Divus (aka Michael Peppe) - Frank Moore's Shaman's Den". Vimeo. Retrieved 7 July 2017. (2:24:20-2:24:50)
  18. ^ Carr, C. "The Fiery Furnace: Performance in the '80s, War in the '90s". TDR: The Drama Review, Volume 49, Number 1 (T 185), Spring 2005. Pgs. 19-28.
  19. ^ a b Sant, Toni (2011). "Franklin Furnace and the Spirit of the Avant-Garde: A History of the Future". Intellect Ltd. p. 105. ISBN 978-1841503714.
  20. ^ Perkins, Stephen (May 9, 2019). "The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary (1991-1999)". artistsperiodicals.blogspot.com.
  21. ^ Burke, Stoney (2014). "Weapon: Mouth Adventures in the Free Speech Zone". Regent Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-1587902727.
  22. ^ Moore, Frank. "Nude Performance Art, Dance and Video: EROART". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  23. ^ Interns, Franklin Furnace 2019 (17 July 2019). "[Label This]". issuu.com. Retrieved 27 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link) pg.4
  24. ^ a b Moore, Frank. "Eroart, Not Porn" from “Frankly Speaking; A Collection of Essays, Writings and Rants”, Inter-Relations, 2014. Pg.81 ISBN 978-1495443381
  25. ^ Moore, Frank. "Eroplay in Life and Art" from “Frankly Speaking; A Collection of Essays, Writings and Rants”, Inter-Relations, 2014. Pg.96 ISBN 978-1495443381
  26. ^ Moore, Frank. "Eroart". Frank Moore's Web of All Possibilities. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  27. ^ "Frank Moore Archives". The Internet Archive. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  28. ^ "Wikinews_interviews_Frank_Moore,_independent_candidate_for_US_President". Wikinews. 1 March 2008.
  29. ^ Echavaria, Vince (October 21, 2013). "Iconic Bay Area performance artist Frank Moore dies; tribute planned in Oakland". San Francisco Examiner.
  30. ^ Sprinkle, A. (1998). Post-porn modernist: my 25 years as a multimedia whore. Cleis Press. ISBN 1-57344-039-6.
  31. ^ Boulware, Jack; Tudor, Silke (2009). Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk from Dead Kennedys to Green Day. Penguin Books. p. 306. ISBN 978-0143113805.
  32. ^ Dirksen, D. (2021). Shut Up You Animals!!! The Pope is Dead. A Remembrance of Dirk Dirksen: A History of the Mabuhay Gardens. Last Gasp. ISBN 978-0-86719-874-4.
  33. ^ "Trailer for Let Me Be Frank". TrailerAddict.com. 16 May 2016.
  34. ^ "Frank Moore archives – 1st delivery to UCB Bancroft Library made today!". The Frank Moore Archives. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  35. ^ "Frank Moore Papers". Online Archive of California. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  36. ^ "BAMPFA Art Collection Search – Mariah". Berkeley.edu. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  37. ^ "BAMPFA Art Collection Search – Patti Smith". Berkeley.edu. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  38. ^ "Frank Moore archives – Frank to be included in the Live Art Research Space of Performistanbul". The Frank Moore Archives. 24 October 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  39. ^ "Frank Moore archives – Frank's archives arrive in Istanbul!". The Frank Moore Archives. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  40. ^ "The Untitled Frank Moore Film". frankmoorefilm.com. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  41. ^ "Frank Moore/MATRIX 280: Theater of Human Melting". 8 November 2022. Archived from the original on 2 June 2023.
  42. ^ "BAMPFA Mounts Survey of Rarely Seen Paintings by Frank Moore". 16 November 2022. Archived from the original on 2 June 2023.
  43. ^ "Frank Moore's Radical Portraits of Love, Lust and Pop Culture Solidify His Legacy". 22 February 2023. Archived from the original on 2 June 2023.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ensminger, David Left of the Dial. PM Press, 2013. pgs. 86, 87 ISBN 978-1604866414
  • Cupido magazine, 5/2010 KR79, pgs. 21-25
  • Letterhead, Volume 2, an anthology. pg. 94
  • Art Papers, Contemporary Art in the South East Magazine, Vol. 13, #6, New York City, June 1989
  • Montano, Linda Performance Artists Talking in the Eighties. University of California Press, 2000. pg. 105 ISBN 978-0520210226
  • Sprinkle, Annie "Hardcore from the Heart: The Pleasures, Profits and Politics of Sex in Performance (Critical Performances)". Bloomsbury Academic, 2006. pgs. 4, 124 ISBN 978-0826490698
  • Goldfarb, Alice Art Lessons: Learning From The Rise And Fall Of Public Arts Funding. Basic Books, 1996. pg. 214 ISBN 978-0465004386
  • Kick, Russ Psychotropedia: A Guide to Publications on the Periphery. Critical Vision, 2002. pgs. 247, 248, 554 ISBN 978-1900486033
  • Brent, Bill (editor) The Black Book: The Guide for the Erotic Explorer. Black Books, 1995 and 1996 4th edition. ISBN 978-0963740137
  • Kay, Kerwin (editor) Male Lust: Pleasure, Power, and Transformation. Routledge, 2000. ISBN 978-1560239826
  • Kaplan, Rachel/Hennessy, Keith (editors) More Out Than In: Notes on sex, art & community. Abundant Fuck Publications, 1995. ISBN 978-1881430513
  • Owens, Tuppy The Safer Sex Maniac's Address Book. Just for Fun, 1989.
  • Owens, Tuppy Safer Planet Sex: The Handbook. A K Pr Distribution, 1994. ISBN 978-1872819112
  • Owens, Tuppy The Sex Maniac's Bible. Tuppy Owens, London, 1990. ISBN 978-1872819044
  • Owens, Tuppy The Safer Sex Maniac's Diary, 20th Anniversary Edition. Cand Haven Ltd., 1993.
  • Brown, Steven Movie Stars and Sensuous Scars: Essays on the Journey from Disability Shame to Disability Pride. iUniverse, Inc., 2003. pgs. 130-133 ISBN 978-0595288939
  • Williams, Michael B./Krezman, Carole Jane (editors) Beneath The Surface, Creative Expressions of Augmented Communicators, ISAAC Series, Volume 2 PointOne Graphics Inc., 2000. ISBN 978-0968418611
  • Block, Dr. Susan The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace Through Pleasure. Gardner & Daughters Publishers, 2014. Table of Contents, and pgs. 109, 137, 172, 196, 220-221 ISBN 978-0692323762
  • Curtis, Harriet/Keidan, Lois/Wright, Aaron (editors) The Live Art Almanac, Volume 4. Oberon Books, LTD., 2016. pgs. 344-347 ISBN 978-1783193226

External links[edit]