Hidden treasures discovered while digging through Frank Moore's huge archives.

Category: Paintings (page 1 of 3)

Frank Moore / Matrix 280: Theater of Human Melting

January 25–April 23, 2023

It was an amazing event. We are very happy that we made the trip to Berkeley for this.

Keith Wilson and Vincent Fecteau curated the exhibition. The opening featured the Curators’ Talk. It was hard to see how these two guys who had never even met Frank would be able to capture the depth and vastness that is Frank and his work. They were going to be speaking to an audience that included many people who knew, love and worked with Frank.

Their presentation brought tears to our eyes. Their talk was a duet … a tag team … getting deeper and more real with each turn. By the end you could see Frank there speaking through them as they channeled him.

Looking at the photos it looks like a night at Burnt Ramen between acts with the mix of art outlaws mingling and hanging out together in the magic that Frank always brought. It was so warming to be with everyone, enjoying …


The large outdoor video screen that displays announcements on the side of the museum
Keith Wilson and Vincent Fecteau


Click on a thumbnail for a larger image


More photos of the Berkeley trip ….


BAMPFA presents the paintings of Frank Moore … ARTICLE FROM THE Berkeleyside

BAMPFA presents the paintings of Frank Moore — a performance artist, poet and so much more

Opening Jan. 25, exhibition focuses on the lesser-known body of work by the Berkeley countercultural activist who was also a playwright and filmmaker.
Sponsored by Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Jan. 19, 2023, 8:38 a.m.

Frank Moore’s portrait of musician Patti Smith was recently acquired by BAMPFA. Credit: BAMPFA

If you spent any time at Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus during the 1970s, you may have encountered a young man in a wheelchair with a mischievous smile and a long pointing stick strapped to his head of unruly brown hair. If you approached this man, you might have seen a colorful sign on his lap with a simple invitation: “Talk to Me.”

This was Frank Moore, one of the most distinctive and distinguished artists to emerge from Berkeley’s counterculture scene during the 1970s and ’80s. A Berkeley original, Moore (1946–2013) was known by his many friends and admirers as a prodigious poet, painter, playwright, performance artist, musician, filmmaker, shaman, presidential candidate, and public access television impresario. He was all of these things and more, all while living with a disability that limited his speech and motion but left his creative spirit unbound.

Today, Moore’s legacy lives on in his voluminous archives of art, film and written work, held at UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library. This year, Bay Area audiences will have a fresh opportunity to discover a portion of that material starting Jan. 25, when the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive unveils Frank Moore / MATRIX 280: Theater of Human Melting — the first museum exhibition dedicated to this extraordinary artist. Unlike previous exhibitions of Moore’s work, Theater of Human Melting focuses specifically on his paintings, a comparatively under-recognized aspect of his creative practice that is overdue for rediscovery. 

Frank Moore as visiting artist at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1991. Credit: Linda Mac

Born and raised in San Bernardino, Moore spent his early adulthood at the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune in western Massachusetts and among radical communities in New Mexico, where he wrote articles for progressive publications under the pen name Unicorn. After relocating to the Bay Area to attend the San Francisco Art Institute, Moore became widely known for provocative performance art presentations that incorporated nudity and eroticism as well as shamanic practices and time-based elements.

In 1978, Moore converted a vacant storefront on Bancroft Avenue into The Theater of Human Melting, a workshop where he developed performances, wrote screenplays, and mentored fellow artists. Constantly experimenting with new forms of expression, he brought his creative vision to public access television in the early 2000s, producing a weekly arts program that later transitioned into a web series. Like many Berkeleyans of his generation, Moore was also active in radical politics throughout his life — most notably as a write-in candidate for President in 2008, when he ran on a platform of “radical love.”

The latest installment in the museum’s MATRIX program for contemporary art, the exhibition of paintings at BAMPFA offers a rare glimpse at Frank Moore’s prolific output as a painter, which is less widely known than his performance art but no less central to his practice.

Working with a paintbrush strapped to his forehead, Moore used oil paint to render evocative still lifes, landscapes, and portraits, ranging from anonymous nudes to pop culture icons like Batman, Darth Vader, and Frankenstein. Twenty-nine of these remarkable works will be presented at BAMPFA, including two works that were recently acquired for the museum’s permanent collection — one of which is a portrait of musician Patti Smith, Moore’s close friend and collaborator.

Silversurfer by Frank Moore. Credit: BAMPFA

“We’re delighted to present the first museum exhibition of Frank Moore right here at his hometown museum, which will reintroduce our audiences to an artist whose singular vision was shaped by this vibrant creative community,” said BAMPFA’s Executive Director Julie Rodrigues Widholm.

 “Given Berkeley’s proud history as the birthplace of the disability rights movement, it’s especially meaningful for us to revisit the work of a Berkeley artist who was unbound by his physical limitations, and whose spirit of artistic innovation and inclusivity continues to inspire.”

Theater of Melting is guest-curated by Vincent Fecteau and Keith Wilson, both working artists with deep connections to the Bay Area, who will present a curator’s talk at the museum on Jan. 25 at 5:30 p.m.

To provide additional context on Moore’s life and work, the curators have chosen to feature the experimental video Let Me Be Frank, playing on a loop in the gallery. Although Moore is credited as the director, the segment was produced posthumously by his family as the opening sequence for a video series based on his autobiography, “Art of a Shaman.” Let Me Be Frank serves as a boisterously joyful introduction to Moore’s creative vision, driven by his passionate belief in the ability of human beings to connect.

Of related interest, selected papers from the Frank Moore Archive will be on display in the exhibit cases on the 3rd floor at The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, Feb. 1–April 21.

Here is the original article from the Berkeleyside

Within The Living Shadows

August 1, 2003
for Linda Smith

oh, the cool living
within the shade
of the big oak!
The girl swinging
On a high branch
Looks down
And sees my bright
Pink and yellow petals,
Jumps down
to smell me
And lies beside me
To listen to the music
Of the oak leaves
Playing with the summer breeze.

All my life
I have been sheltered
By my friend the oak,
Being protected from
Hard rain,
Gusts of cold wind,
And hot sun,
So that my gentle beauty
Can grow
strong & bright
Within the circle
Of vibrating shade…
Refreshing shadows
of living together,
Rooted together
Within just being together.
Ah, my friend,
The oak tree!

“Koala Bear”, oil on canvas, 22” x 30”, 1975 by Frank Moore

From the book Skin Passion by Frank Moore.

Too Late

For Barbara Smith’s
70th Birthday
by Frank Moore
Friday, June 29, 2001

It is too late
For THEM to defeat us.
We have made it to the gravy years!
We have lived rich lives,
Within a deep web of
Tribal community relationships,
Deep into shamanistic rituals
To the magic
Without limits
Sitting on the mat
In the universal room of hidden imagination,
Every body who comes in
A magical feast of contact connecting flesh rituals,
Growing, working the garden together
Walking together
Within small circles of evolution,
Of risks,
Deep pleasures!
Yes, my fellow playmate,
They have failed
To take the riches of living
Away from us.
They raped us
Tortured us
Pretended we were just feeble-minded silly foam
But we have transformed
All that into our web
Of change
Ain’t that what life,
Is all about anyway?

And now it’s too late for them!

They can kill us,
Put us in prison,
Take everything/everybody from us,
Erase us from memory,
But we would still have our life,
Our changes,
Our melting
Into the universal tribal body
Their only hope
Is us taking our lives back
By doubting,
By stopping playing,
But fat chance!
We are having too much fun!

Ah yes,
My dear,
We are in the GRAVY YEARS!
And the gravy
Is rich,
And spicy…
Just right
To be poured
Over winter squash!

“Jackie”, oil on canvas, 32” x 40”, 1977 by Frank Moore

From the book Skin Passion by Frank Moore.


For Erika
by Frank Moore, Sunday, September 01, 2002

There is no beginning,
No ending,
No leaving or going,
No stages or signposts
You came with an urge
To expand
Into yourself
Outside of your skin
Into your body
Outside of what is known or comfortable
This terrible urge of yours
Is the same urge
That’s exploding
The whole universe
In all directions
Without itself
You came to dance
With me
Within your dangerous urge,
To battle demons
With me,
To play
And explore pleasure
And fears
With me…
Always dry wisecracks
And shrugging off
Before you leaped
But you leaped
Every time into the expanding
Rings of vulnerable power
Of becoming…
The gentle tides
That wash away
The sand fortresses
Of isolation
Which appeared so massive solid,
Just dissolved,
Melted harmlessly.
Yes, you became
The gentle spring rains
Erasing the hard chalk lines
Drawn on playgrounds

By bullies…
“If you step over this, you sissy!”
Now the ghosts and demons
Seem just silly fearful creatures,
Only barely visible
Running away
From your bright, glowing body,
All juicy and relaxed
You have expanded,
Are expanding,
Into enjoying life,
Dark and rich
And we,
You and me,
Have expanded lustfully
Deep inside each other,
Body and soul,
Cozy home rooted in love,
Fellow warriors and lovers
Carrying each other
Deep inside
There is no leaving for the likes of us,
Just a never ending graduation
Of us playing together
In the ever pushing urge
to surrender
Into the ever new unknown

“Batman’s Face”, oil on canvas, 40” x 40”, 1976 by Frank Moore

From the book Skin Passion by Frank Moore.

Passions Don’t Burn Out

by Frank Moore, Friday, March 19, 1999

Passions don’t burn out
bliss don’t boil away
fuel of life
is for a lifetime

burnt out?
Kill yourself…
or stop using
glamor, hype,
romantic drug
to rush above
everyday reality

“Universal Red”, oil on canvas, 40″ x 40″, 1978 by Frank Moore

From the book Skin Passion by Frank Moore.


by Frank Moore, Wednesday, June 15, 2005

It is natural
To create happiness
Within our combined body
Living together
Just a part of enjoying
Being together
Surrendering into one another.

This is pleasing,
Just being together
In being enough,
Not going anywhere,
No separation,
Floating together
In turn-on,
Doing the dishes together
Cleaning house
Making love
Cooking dinner
Feeding one other
Within our body
Without anything to prove
Or to show…
Just actively following
Together the flowing
Blood within us.

It is fashionable today,
Backed up by correctness,
To refuse to please.
But this “pleasing”
Isn’t our pleasing.
It’s appeasing.
There is nothing within our body
To appease!
The wife appeases
Her abusive husband
To not get clobbered…
The 18 year old girl
Appeases her parents
To win love, approval,
To escape a fist
Of power.
Is coins feeding
The meter
Of isolation
And separation.

“I don’t want to please anymore!”
is bleak,
cutting the heart out,
sealing active surrendering,
melting, infusing
up in a cold cell.
And this is why
Appeasing /
Running away
Is fashionable


I ain’t writing
This so-so poem
To please you
Or appease you…
It just came out
Of our body
of loving/enjoying
Being together…
Just like kissing,
Washing dishes…
It would separate us,
Would be denying.

“Tracey Is Ready!”, digital painting, 2001 by Frank Moore

From the book Skin Passion by Frank Moore.

The Imagination Woods

For Kirsten
For her birthday
by Frank Moore
, Monday, July 21, 2003

Outside of town,
Behind the field
Where the carnivals
And the traveling preachers
Set up their tents,
There is a woods,
Deep & dark & dense…
Nobody knows how far back it goes.
Everybody knows to keep out of the woods
That always threatens to swallow the town up.
Not quite!
The crazies and the moonshiners ,
The forbidden lovers,
And the lovers of the forbidden,
And wild, untamed children,
All find cover for their sacred crimes
Within the hiding edges
Of the woods.
But not the sane,
The respectable,
The normal…
We never go near the woods,
With its saber-tooth tigers,
Giant leather birds,
Rabid wolves,
Razor grasses,
And the deep hidden pit traps
With generations
Of the bones of corpses.
I’ve heard tales
Children getting sucked
Into the dark heart
Of the cruel woods,
Wandering out years later
Naked, muttering gibberish,
To spend the rest of their days

I never went near the woods….
Until now…
Until I started talking to Indian Joe.
People say he’s drunk and crazy.
But his breath is sweet;
His words are clear,
Infecting my brain and heart
With longings for new possibilities.
He lives deep in the woods!
He tells me stories of
The spirit/body dwelling
Just within!

So here I am,
Walking into the woods,
On a quest for the unlimited unknown.
There’s a ball
Of excited pleasure
In my belly
As I pass through
the community of outcasts,
And leave them behind
On the edge.
I just walk and walk,
Deeper into experience,
Smelling Live and Death
All mixed up.
Everything is melting into everything,
Not staying within skin.
Colors and sounds
Intense, clear,
But blending into me.
My brush presses swirling
Into the fleshy paint pot,
Presses firmly into bright surreal
Cool colors on the woods’ floor,
Sunlight vibrates through the leaves,
playing music with the birds & the water.
Is it Kirsten?
Is Kirsten in me?
I’m walking in a joyful creek,
Cool gentle on my feet,
Alive finally!
Enjoying the mud,
The smooth yellow stones
Enjoying walking,
I hear hearty laughing,
From a sexy belly.
Must have been me
Because I don’t see anyone else.
I hear sobbing
Which sinks reality deeper.
I hear “FUCK!”
that explodes into my very being!
Not my voice…
Too much raw emotion.
It’s her!
I keep walking,
Going to the source
Of the creek.
There are balls of mud clay,
Maybe eggs
Each with a unique design.
I keep seeing more of these objects.
Ain’t everything in these woods
Was Kirsten born from one
Of these mud eggs?
Did a child play-make these mud realities,
Or a primitive?
Questions seems so silly
Within this God!
So do my clothes!
I leave both behind.
Keep walking,
Everything is fusing together.
Every move causes warm pleasure.
I can’t tell what is me anymore.
Don’t need to anymore!
Just keep walking to the source!

I’m now….
I’m indeed now!
But I mean I’m now
At the source of the creek,
A spring of purity.
Outside a crude comfort hut,
A creature stirs a soup pot,
With a keening wail,
She climbs a tree!
With a wild laugh,
She right here with me,
Sharing nude skin pleasure
Rubbing herself into me,
Taking me into her,
Fusing bodies,
Simply enjoying being together,
Being enough!
She keeps changing,
Snorting at the sheer fun
Of our dance/play.
She keeps changing.
An old hag
Croaking sex hexes,
A young girl
Full of wonder,
A lusty sexy seducer,
Now she split into a whole tribe.
We are home
Sitting around the fire
Cooking the soup…
She keeps throwing red hot peppers in
Along with other things she gathered.
I stir the pot as she dances
Beyond time with others in our tribe.
All their voices and bodies are within me.
I’m within their dances
As I stir the pot.
We grow old together
As we wait for the soup
To chill.
We can wait
Because we are in our tribal home
Of being enough.
Then she pours in the moonshine.
This cold hot pepper moonshine soup
Has such a kick!

Why didn’t I go into
The woods of imagination
I’m here now…
With you!

“Shy”, digital painting, 2010 by Frank Moore

From the book Skin Passion by Frank Moore.

River Vision

by Frank Moore, Sunday, March 21, 1999

People sometimes ask,
“Where is your work heading?
What do you want to do next?”

It is not my work.
It is not my choice.

For me,
it is not a question
of a next thing.
It is a growing,
evolving vision.
I am carried along
in this vision
of life,
of art.
A performance does not have
a beginning
or an end.
It is just
a tiny bit
of the vision.
The vision braids
around itself,
flowing on. I do not know
where the vision
is taking me. I have not been down
this vision before.

One thing’s for sure. We humans
are not the end
of evolution.

“Sunset Rise”, digital painting, 2010 by Frank Moore


By Frank Moore
Wednesday, June 01, 2005

the ghostly fingers
of abstraction
are cold oatmeal.

those hands
of wind
can not touch
or hold.
they go right thru you…
not very fulfilling
not very satisfying

time to get out of that room,
time to stop waiting

“Flower Power”, digital painting, 2010 by Frank Moore

From the book Skin Passion by Frank Moore.