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Patient

1997-98
20th century
125.7 x 166.4 x 8.9 cm (49 1/2 x 65 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.)

Frank C. Moore (New York City, 1953 - 2002, New York City) Primary

Object Type: painting
Artist Nationality: North America, American
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas over wood panel in artist's red pine frame
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of the Gesso Foundation, 2018
Accession Number: 2018.73

In "Patient," Frank Moore turns a hospital bed into a landscape of loss. Water pools over the sheets and cascades off the side of the bed like a waterfall. Symbols of the seasons—fall-colored leaves, snowflakes, and a songbird—suggest life cycles and the passing of time.

Diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1987, Moore responded to the AIDS crisis through his art and as an activist. The snowflakes screen-printed onto this painting depict actual molecular structures, including the AIDS virus. As a key member of the organization Visual AIDS, he was instrumental in helping to create the red AIDS ribbon to help raise public awareness and empathy for those afflicted with the disease. "Patient" reflects an artist grappling not only with his own mortality (the hospital blood bag bears his own name and O+ blood type) but also mourning the loss of friends and loved ones who died of AIDS-related complications. He always aspired for his art to have universal resonance that, as he put it, “ultimately transcends the personal level and the specificity of issues such as gay and lesbian rights or AIDS.” In "Patient," the bed is left empty for us to fill with our own memories of those whom we have lost.

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