Frank Moore, 48; Artist Spurred AIDS Symbol

From Newsday

Frank C. Moore II, a New York City painter who helped launch the red ribbon as a national symbol for AIDS awareness, has died.

Moore, 48, died April 21 of complications from AIDS at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City.

A popular and critical success as a painter, Moore described his work as a journal of his long battle with HIV.


Several of his paintings were featured in the 1995 Whitney Biennial, a showcase of contemporary artists, and his works are part of the collections at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney.

Born in Manhattan in 1953, Moore moved with his family to Long Island, N.Y.

He attended Yale, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1975, and he studied at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris from 1977 to 1979. His art began appearing in group exhibitions in 1979, as he worked as a set designer for modern dance choreographer Jim Self in Manhattan.

It was the Whitney Biennial that launched him onto a national stage, said David Leiber, director of Sperone Westwater, the gallery that represented him.

That exhibit showcased three of his works, including “Niagara,” which shows a strand of DNA spiraling out of the mist of Niagara Falls; and “Yosemite,” his largest work, which depicts the national park as an overrun, overworked theme park.

Moore was an active board member of the Manhattan-based Visual AIDS, a group that raises money for artists with AIDS and helps preserve the works of artists who die of the disease.

As one of the leaders of the group’s artists caucus, he was instrumental in conceiving of the overlapping red ribbon as a symbol for AIDS awareness in 1991.


Moore is survived by his partner, Patrick Orton of Manhattan; his stepmother, Katherine Moore of New York City; brothers Arthur Moore of Pasadena and Daniel Harris of San Jose; sisters Rebecca Moore of Los Gatos, Calif., and Elizabeth Moore of Bay Shore, N.Y.; stepbrothers Thomas Harris of Los Gatos and Donald Harris of Dallas; and stepsister Elizabeth Lifschultz of Chappaqua, N.Y.