On September 24,2012 panelists Gregg Bordowitz Joy Episalla, Loring McAlpin, and Harvey Weiss with moderator Barbara Hunt Mclanahan, gathered for Frank Moore: Together in Art and Activism. Presented by Visual AIDS and Grey Art Gallery at NYU’s Fales Library, the panel discussion was an opportunity to explore the life of Moore, while diving into relationships between art and activism. Each panelist took a personal but diverse approach.
Joy Episalla was the last to speak. By then the room was warm with memories, sadness, and closeness. We were experiencing the loss and the joy together, as much as we could. In an unplanned way, in a way that only happens when panel discussions unfold magically, Episalla’s comments seemed to touch upon and wrap up everything that had been said before her. Most poignantly, they seemed to be in conversation with Gregg Bordowitz’s recalibration of Moore and his form of activism. It was through listening to her, one could consider the work Moore did as having a slow burn, rather than a hot flash. Episalla beautiful stated:
"Everything that Frank encountered, experienced, learnt, suffered, lamented, laughed at, wondered at, cared deeply about—all these things became integrated and synthesized in his work. Being gay, living with AIDS, healthcare, the AIDS crisis, cooking, genetic engineering, seduction, homophobia, diving, ecological devastation, sex, hiking, corporate greed, humor, gardening, the relationship between oil and agriculture and the destruction of the environment—all of this stuff worked its way into the paintings. It was not simply that he was a good storyteller—and made incredible historical/ allegorical /symbolic paintings of the times he lived through— he was also an avid gardener. Let's call him an activist gardener."
Frank had the last word. Through a beautiful and poignant quote that Joy shared with the audience, Frank’s words seemed almost a response to much of the evening’s conversation and a wonderful thought to leave us with: “I do think art can effect change in a society, though it takes a long time to operate, almost to the point that the better the painting the longer it takes to achieve its full impact.” – Frank Moore
Joy Episalla is a multi-disciplinary artist working in the interstices of photography, video and sculpture. She is interested in the mutability of still and moving images as they play out through time, and in the manipulation of spatial volume, while engaging a queer/feminist perspective. She lives and works in NYC.