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

Tag: Veronica Vera (page 1 of 1)

Frank Moore – Out of Isolation, INTERDREAM

A piece written by Veronica Vera that was published in High Performance magazine, #53, Spring 1991.

Frank Moore communicates his world to his audience. It is a slow world built on trust. Because for a “crip” (Moore’s word to describe his cerebral palsy), time is elongated and things happen through cooperation. Frank Moore cannot move a distance of five feet on his own, but he can lead an audience by giant leaps through innerspace.

Out Of Isolation, Moore’s simple two-character video at The Kitchen, described the initial meeting and subsequent week of physical therapy between a spastic (Moore) and his nurse (Linda Sibeo). At first the patient was unresponsive to the nurse’s well-meaning but torturous, by-the-book approach: pulling at his limbs, massaging him with ice cubes and bristly paint brushes, petting and swatting him as she would a dog. Occasionally, she revealed a personal side, using the patient as her confidant. She decided to return on the weekend to pay him a non-professional visit, and by the end of the visit, they lay naked together, cuddling, sharing. Not only has the patient come out of isolation, but so has the nurse.

This is the pivotal message of every Frank Moore performance: that physical interaction—the sharing of energy, the sensual “eroplay”—is essential to life, and the more we strip it down to its basic level, the more we benefit from the force of the interaction.

That same weekend, Frank Moore and Chero company presented INTERDREAM as part of New York University’s “New Pathways For Performance” conference. Body painting, massage, primal music, chanted poetry—INTERDREAM contained all of Moore’s favorite methods of communication, including the shaman’s tent where he lay naked ready to receive audience members, collaborators, who chose to go deeper into the cave. Among the audience were members of “Disabled in Action” and “Artists With Disabilities. Inc.” They greeted his performance with enthusiasm, and contributed to bridging the gap between artist and audience.

Because I had performed with Frank Moore twice, I thought that if I entered the cave as merely one of the audience members, I might feel a let down. Blindfolded, I was led to a clear space on the shaman’s mat. I reached out and felt bodies, some clothed, some bare-skinned beneath my fingers. My clothes were a barrier, so I removed my blouse and bra. I felt Frank, his thick tongue and glasses, then I felt a woman’s breasts, legs and arms, and I couldn’t tell where one person ended and another one began. I lay with the god Shiva, half-man, half-woman, cradled by warm human flesh, so vulnerable, yet so safe. And then I began to cry. I cried my way out of isolation.

—Veronica Vera

Out of Isolation was presented at The Kitchen in New York City, October 6, 1990. INTERDREAM was presented at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, as part of “New Pathways In Performance,” October 7, 1990.

Veronica Vera is a literary artist. She is creator of The Theory of Sexual Evolution.

The article as published in High Performance. Photo by Eric Kroll.
Poster by LaBash.
The cover of the issue of High Performance that the article was published in.

Eroart, Not Porn

December 11, 1996. Published in Open Forum #13, Greece, in 1997, and in Lummox Journal in February 1997.

In June 1988, Annie Sprinkle put out a call and some of the leading artists who use sex in their work came together in Veronica Vera’s N.Y.C. apartment to sign a manifesto which talked about an art movement which “celebrates sex as the nourishing, life-giving force” which these artists use, in the self-empowering “attitude of sex-positivism” to “communicate our ideas and emotions…to have fun, heal the world and endure.” This was a declaration of war against the censoring forces of anti-art, anti-human, anti-sex, anti-fun, anti-love, and truly anti-life…forces of darkness in power in the world today. We called ourselves Post Porn Modernists. This was very limiting because it linked us not only to dying deadening porn, but to the glum post modern art movement, setting ourselves up to be just a reaction, just the limb of a dead tree. We needed a name like Living Pleasure Artists…or Eroartists! By using the word “porn”, it wrongly suggested that eroart somehow came out of what is very sloppily called “porn”. Historically, there has always been eroart…and if truth be told, most artists have done at least some eroart. Eroart celebrates sex, love, the body, and the human passions. But porn was born in the Victorian Era with its repressive anti-sexual/anti-pleasure morality. What we eroartists were trying to do was to get back to the healing liberation of eroart.

What we are interested in is art that creates in people the desire to go out and play with other people, and to enjoy life. This is eroart. Historically, one of the tools of this art has been the sex act. But sex has only been a tool, not the goal. And it is just one of many tools.

Isadora Duncan is a person whom I would call an artist in the eroart tradition. She used nudity (especially at private parties where she could dance without feeling moral judgments) and movement to turn people on physically to their own bodies and to passion for life. This is the true goal of eroart. Most books on eroart have missed the true purpose of such art. There has always been sexual erotic art. This kind of art is universal and can be traced back to the caves and beyond.

We artists who signed the manifesto wanted to offer alternatives. We wanted to do art that would satisfy people’s natural desire to see other people nude getting turned-on…to satisfy their child-like curiosity to see other people’s bodies, to see what they are really like under those clothes. These are healthy human desires.

The time was, and is, right for an art form that addresses these healthy desires. The women’s movement has changed people’s standards with regard to sex and the quality of relationships. This is true of both men and women. They have scrapped, or are scrapping, the old sexist ways and attitudes. People want to see new ways of relating between humans both in and out of bed. Eroart in all media can show this way of relating.

Unfortunately, in recent years many eroartists have embraced the label of PORN…which is like embracing the label BAD COMMERCIAL ART. It is unfortunate because labels affect both the art and the artists. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “porn”, my mental pictures are…big-dicked jerks and big-titted bimbos fucking bored, unreal, dumb…tubes going in and out of holes…as many tubes going in and out of holes as possible…as close-up as possible…without any real human passion. This picture sets up undermining blocks for eroart. Eroart aims to liberate people. This picture makes the artist forget the idealism and importance of the eroart…“oh it’s just porn.”

This effect of the label of PORN can be seen on many of the female sex artists who have come on the scene since we signed the manifesto. The sex world has become in-grown. There is even a level of not liking/enjoying sex in this circle. Sex has become again the means to power, fame, money…and the means to avoid relationships, intimacy, needing other people. At a recent party of famous sex artists, one woman actually said, “I don’t like sex, I like faking it!” Most of the people just nodded their agreement. Just shows the gender of the pornographer doesn’t affect the porn!

We need to get back to the idealism of eroart…get back to changing/liberating society through eroart. Breaking taboos has always been a part of art, at least the area of art that seeks to change consciousness, change morality, change reality. This is one of the functions of art.

From the book, “Frankly Speaking: A Collection of Essays, Writings & Rants” by Frank Moore, published by Inter-Relations in 2014.

The Post Porn Modernist Manifesto


Excerpted from Frank’s letter to Annie Sprinkle, February 17, 1987, describing Dotty, the character Annie would be playing at Frank’s first Franklin Furnace performance, INTIMATE CAVE, May 14, 1987.

For about eight years, I have been working with the character whom you are playing. I call her Dotty. You remind me of the woman who originally played Dotty. I have tried to get other people to play Dotty in different pieces, with not much success. They have lacked the depth and freedom and control needed to pull it off.

Dotty is a zombie, mentally retarded … has no I.Q., no intellect. But she is not dumb. She is very slow. She takes a couple of minutes to waddle several feet. She does not speak. But she makes loud, long, slow laughs without obvious reason. She makes funny faces and distorts her body [Howie Mandel may have copied her moves]. She gets sidetracked very easily. A bit of dust can stop her in her tracks as she focuses to explore it. In a strange way, she is very focused. Once her focus is on you, she is locked on you until her curiosity is satisfied. She is a ball of emotional, innocent curiosity. This gives her a gentle power over people, allowing her to break taboos, sitting on laps, crawling on people, unbuttoning shirts, gently pushing limits.

In this piece, she is looking for warmth, for intense physicalness. She looks for this in the audience at first. She does not force this on people. But she does not settle for less. When she finds that a person has quit going with her into that physical intimacy, she loses interest and moves on to another person.

Dotty Gallery