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Oral history interview with Patrick Moore, 2017 April 15

Oral history interview with Patrick Moore, 2017 April 15

Moore, Patrick, 1962-

Public relation, Museum director, Journalist, Author


Collection Information

Size: Transcript: 57 pages.

Summary: An interview with Patrick Moore, conducted 2017 April 15, by Alex Fialho, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Moore's office in the the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Moore speaks of his childhood in Cherokee, Iowa and rural Canada; the personal influence of his artistic grandmother; studying theater directing at Carnegie Mellon University; Pittsburgh's distinctive gay community; moving to New York in 1985; becoming serious about visual art through his employment at The Kitchen; his involvement with ACT UP's public demonstrations; working as The Kitchen's marketing director; caring for his first true love, who died of AIDS; struggling with alcoholism and addiction during the AIDS crisis; splitting time between New York and Los Angeles; working as a donation solicitor for Art Against AIDS and ACT UP's Auction for Action; ACT UP's money-related infighting; developing the Estate Project and Future Safe; his writing projects; moving to Los Angeles and becoming sober in 1995; art's role in communicating experience of the AIDS crisis to future generations; paying special attention to the preservation of film work; the politics of identifying artists' deaths as AIDS-related; Organizing the Geldzahler Portfolio; the untreated grief of those who lived through the AIDS crisis; his career and current work at the Warhol Museum; his renewed hope for an intergenerational dialogue about the AIDS crisis; historical work as activism; and his continued fascination with the New York that he first encountered in the 1980s. Moore also recalls Robert Wilson, Maria Maggenti, Donald Moffett, Marlene McCarthy, Avram Finkelstein, Karen Finley. John Jesurun, Annie Sprinkle, Ron Athey, Joe Coleman, Diamanda Galas, Eileen Myles, Ann Philbin, Philip Yenawine, Frank Moore, Randy Bourscheidt, Anne Livet, Robert Gober, Tony Feher, Jeff Griglak, Leigh Raines, Robert Ferber, Firelei Baez, Mimi Bowling, Jim Hubbard, Sarah Schulman, Vincent McGee, Barney Rosset, Assotto Saint, Kevin Oldham, Tory Dent, Catherine Opie, Raj Roy.

Biographical/Historical Note

Interviewee Patrick Moore (1962- ) is the Director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Interviewer Alex Fialho (1989- ) is a curator and arts writer and works as Programs Director for Visual AIDS in New York, New York. Moore was the Project Director for the Estate Project at the Alliance for the Arts in New York. New York, 1991-2001, and was the Director of Public Relations and Marketing at The Kitchen Center for Performance in New York, New York, 1986-1990.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.


Funded by the Keith Haring Foundation.



The following oral history transcript is the result of a recorded interview with Patrick Moore on April 15, 2017. The interview took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Andy Warhol Museum and was conducted by Alex Fialho for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. This interview is part of the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic:  An Oral History Project.

Patrick Moore and Alex Fialho have reviewed the transcript. Their corrections and emendations appear below in brackets with initials. This transcript has been lightly edited for readability by the Archives of American Art. The reader should bear in mind that they are reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.


ALEX FIALHO:  This is Alex Fialho, interviewing Patrick Moore for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Visual Arts & the AIDS Epidemic Oral History Project on April 15, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Andy Warhol Museum. So, let's dive right in. Can you tell me about when and where you were born, and your early childhood?

PATRICK MOORE:  I was born in Cherokee, Iowa on December 24, 1962. And Cherokee, Iowa is a little farm town—about 6,000 people in Northwest Iowa. The nearest city is Sioux City, Iowa. And Cherokee, Iowa is—well, what is there to say about Cherokee, Iowa? Cherokee, Iowa is a farming town, but it also its primary industry—was a meat-packing plant that became progressively less profitable and—but it was where my father worked, and—so that was the main industry of the town.

There was also a mental health—a state mental health institute there, which was of importance to me because my grandmother would go and be committed there once in a while. And I was an only child. Early on I realized I was a gay child, and my grandmother was my—kind of confidant, best friend, babysitter, primary person in my life, because both of my parents worked and we lived next door to my grandmother, so my grandmother had a huge role in my life. And my grandmother was an alcoholic and a drug addict and—you know, I think beyond being that, probably mentally ill too. So, there was this rather kind of remarkable, quite beautiful building on the edge of the town, which was the state mental health institute. And she would go there and be committed once in a while, and then she would come back and be prescribed what I later learned was antipsychotic medication, but, of course, she would drink on top of it.

So, I had this strange relationship with this woman, and it turned out that she didn't turn out. She was also an artist. So she was also the first artist in my life. And Zelma, which was her name, was that first connection to art for me, that first connection to somebody who did not have a traditional job, who didn't have a traditional life. And so—she did not see me or identify me as a gay man, but she—she was an important figure in my life. And I kind of went on in my life there, and when I was in about the sixth grade of high school, my father went hunting with his buddies in Canada and came home and said, "I'm going to quit my job, and I'm going to buy this hunting resort in Canada." And I had gone there with them, with him and my cousins, periodically, and I was this little gay boy and I hated it.

So, I already kind of hated my life in Iowa and then I found out that we were going to spend at least half of the year in Canada at this hunting resort, and it was 60 miles away to the nearest town of any size. So, my life, which I thought was pretty miserable already, got worse. Because in Iowa, at that age—I was entering my teenage life, you know, I had kind of just discovered drugs and alcohol and become—you know, I had kind of fallen in with the bad boys and girls.

So, I was starting to kind of find my place and become a little bit popular, or at least know how to interact with people socially, and then I saw that that was going to be disrupted. So, what happened is my parents didn't want to send me to boarding school in Canada, and that's what you had to do because it was so remote where we would live. So, they decided that we would move there only part of the year and then we would come back to Iowa, and I would continue to go to high school—in junior high school, and then high school in Iowa. And I would leave school early each year and return to school late. So, I had this really weird rest of my childhood, and, eventually, as I got a little bit older, they would let me stay on my own in our house in Iowa. So, I would have a couple of months, where as a teenager, I would just live on my own, and I, you know, became more and more wild as a teenager, and more and more kind of out of control.

So, that was my—those were my teenage years, living in this weird place in Canada surrounding by, surrounded by, like, bear hunters and fishermen.

ALEX FIALHO:  What city?

PATRICK MOORE:  It's a—it's not a city It's called Perrault Falls. There's literally a post office but to go to the nearest town of any size, it's 60 miles away. And I remember having a calendar that I would mark the days until I could go back to Iowa, and then, you know, as I was approaching college, mark the days on the calendar until I could escape. And all I wanted to do was to get out of Canada and Iowa, and that really was the focus of my life: to get the hell out of there and to—well, I had goals, but really to lead my life as a gay man, and I knew I couldn't do it there. And I was not particularly good at being in the closet, so I was being, you know, bullied. There weren't these words for it at that time but, you know, I was the town fag and all of that. So, it was a really kind of miserable existence for me there.

ALEX FIALHO:  In both towns?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, in Canada, there wasn't a town.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah, I got that.

PATRICK MOORE:  But in Iowa, certainly, you know.

ALEX FIALHO:  What sort of art did your grandmother make?

PATRICK MOORE:  Oh, she was a multidisciplinary artist. She painted, and she loved to paint landscapes. She would go occasionally to see one of her sons who had moved to Denver, and she loved to paint the Rockies. Those scenes of the West were things that she loved. She loved painting nature, but she also would—she was a writer. She wrote poetry and was published to an extent.

There were poetry magazines, and I think that there were kind of a racket. You had to pay to be published in them, but she would do that. She would—she wrote a poem that was called The Little Gray Old Biffy, and "biffy" was sort of a kind of country term for an outhouse. So, she wrote this poem, and she drew a little illustration for it, and it was a kind of remembrance of growing up as a child and going to the outhouse and how cold it would be in the winter. And so she made it into a plaque, and she would scallop the edges of it, you know, and decoupage it. I don't know if you remember decoupaging, but it was this craft, this kind of toxic plastic stuff that you would pour on top of it to seal, and she would sell these things. She would go on a local radio station and sell these plaques. So, she would make all sorts of things. She would make ceramic objects sometimes. And she would have art shows at the local community center.

ALEX FIALHO:  Cool. Where is some of that work now, do you know?

PATRICK MOORE:  To my great disappointment and sadness, it almost was all thrown away. And, you know, considering what I would work on later in my life, it's remarkable to me that I didn't have the wherewithal to somehow get back to Iowa when she—before she died, when she moved from her house to a nursing home and to say to my parents, "I want some." But, you know, my life was in such an uproar, and I was so disconnected from Iowa that I didn't do that.

I have one little drawing from her, which is all I have from her. And I have—you know, I have thought that maybe I could find some of those stupid little plaques that she made and sold, because she sold gobs of them. And I have searched for them online. I thought maybe somebody would put them online, and I have spent a lot of time trying to find something from her, but I can't. And neither my father nor her brother have one single thing of all of her paintings. They just threw them all away. So, it's really an amazing thing that that would figure so much into my life later on.

ALEX FIALHO:  What was her last name?

PATRICK MOORE:  Bomar. Well, she had many last names. She went through a lot of husbands. So, her full last name was Zelma Bomar-Brauer-Cooper-Moore. She kind of wore out the men in her life.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about your mother?

PATRICK MOORE:  My mother is a dear person, but a very—my mother comes from a generation that is entirely subservient to the men in her life. First her father, who was a jerk, who was abusive to her and her sisters. And then to my father, who is not a jerk at all. But it was all about his dream of going to Canada and being an outdoorsman and leading this life, and my mother just went along for the ride. My mother always wanted—my mother loves animals and always had hoped I think—she told me that she always wanted to be a kind of small animal veterinarian, but she never pursued her dreams. She made my father's dreams possible.

Both of my parents are living. They sold that business in Canada, and they have a little house in Canada and still a house in Iowa. But, you know, my mother really never got to pursue her dreams, and she has a very small life that she's intent on making smaller and smaller as she gets older. And they are in my life, they are proud of me. They, you know, participate in my life to a degree, but it's a limited degree and, you know, I think that for my parents, my life—especially once I had moved to New York City, my life was just incomprehensible to them in a way. They couldn't understand—it's really until my job at the Warhol, frankly, that they could talk about what I did and understand what I do. And before, it was just was impossible for them to grasp onto what my life was about.

ALEX FIALHO:  How did they end up in Iowa?

PATRICK MOORE:  They grew up there. They were born there, grew up there. You know, I asked my father once, "Did you ever think about moving away?" And he did move away briefly, went to Minneapolis and—but he could never really articulate to me why he returned. But, you know, he went to another country, he bought a business in another country, but really that's—that life in Iowa, the smallness of that life in Iowa, is still where his heart is, as much as he did do this thing in another country. They never really—it's too threatening. I have talked to them about moving to Pittsburgh, and that idea of just really truly moving their life to another city and being here with me is too much for them.

ALEX FIALHO:  Did they encourage—either your parents or your grandmother or others—an interest in the arts as you were growing up?

PATRICK MOORE:  They didn't discourage it. My grandmother did by example, but my grandmother was astonished that I wanted to leave Iowa. She—and her life was so limited as an artist. She wanted badly to show her work, and she wanted it to be seen and recognized, but she couldn't make that leap of faith that one could actually pursue a life as an artist. So, when I got ready to go to college, I told my father what I wanted to study, and he—you know, he more or less said, "You should study something where you could make a living." So, no, I can't really—listen, they paid for me to go to college, and I studied something in the arts, so, yes, they did encourage me. But again, it just was outside the realm of what they understood.

ALEX FIALHO:  Where did you go to college and what did you study?

PATRICK MOORE:  I got into three colleges. I applied to Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, and NYU, and I thought I wanted to be a theater director. At Northwestern, I got in as a—it was a liberal arts, you know, program. And Carnegie Mellon, I was accepted, and they had the first—it was the first year of their undergraduate directing program. And I was accepted, and I was the first student accepted as an undergraduate directing student.

I really wanted to go to NYU, but I was—and I was accepted academically, but not into the directing program. So, I decided to go to Carnegie Mellon. And I think actually, probably, had I gone to NYU, I would be dead. In fact, I'm pretty sure I would be dead if I went to NYU. Because I was so overwhelmed by the experience of coming out and exploring my life as a gay man in Pittsburgh, that the experience of doing that in New York—because it was early on, you know, and I didn't understand—well nobody did, but certainly I didn't—understand the experience of how to navigate safe sex, because nobody really did in 1981, fully. I know that I would not have known how to do that in New York City, and I would have lost myself to such a degree, that the level of exposure I would have had—unless I'm one of those people who somehow is completely immune for some reason to HIV infection—I'm pretty sure I would have become infected in New York, and/or just completely died from drug addiction because I became an addict anyway. And the level of exposure to drugs in New York would have been so much higher for me.

But instead I came to Pittsburgh. And Pittsburgh actually represented a very safe space for me to come out, because the gay community here was small, contained, rather—Pittsburgh is an odd gay community. It doesn't have a kind of central gay neighborhood. It was and is rather fragmented in terms of its life. It was a safe space for me to come out, and Carnegie Mellon at that time was in some ways rather old-fashioned school. Now, Carnegie Mellon is very high-powered, but Carnegie Mellon is also a very focused school. So, I had to be a little bit focused there. So, I got distracted enough as it was in Pittsburgh. In New York, it would have been—I can't imagine what would have happened to me. I don't know how kids—I don't know how an 18-year-old goes to college in New York City, in the middle of downtown New York.

ALEX FIALHO:  I feel the same way.

[They laugh.]

PATRICK MOORE:  I know, I can't imagine that experience. So, I came to Pittsburgh. And I fell in love with Pittsburgh. You know, I had just come from a town of 6,000 people in Iowa, so Pittsburgh was a metropolis for me. And that really formed my view of Pittsburgh that I still have. I still see it through the eyes of an 18-year-old coming from Iowa. So, although I have lived most of my adult life in New York and Los Angeles, I still see Pittsburgh in a very different way than most people. I still remember that experience of coming here and thinking this, "I have arrived." So, it was a great transitional experience for me, being here.

ALEX FIALHO:  How did you first get interested in theater?

PATRICK MOORE:  I had a wonderful teacher in high school. Turned out that he was a gay man. A closeted gay man, as I guess you had to be teaching high school students in Iowa. But he was one of those amazing teachers that, you know, completely pushed all the boundaries, including some inappropriate ones, probably. But, you know, he really—in some ways I learned more in high school about English literature and theater than I did in college, because the level of instruction was so high.

And so, it really was through that experience of having a great teacher. And I never really thought—I never thought I wanted to be an actor, but I was very interested in the experience of being a director. But the problem was that Carnegie Mellon, although it's an excellent school, is a very traditional school when it comes to—or at least it was at that time a very traditional school in terms of theater, and I was interested in very experimental theater. So, it wasn't a great match. And I was at my brattiest and snottiest and just thought I was too cool for it all. But they were pretty tolerant of me and they let me experiment, and they were experimenting on me, too, because the program was very informed, you know.

If I were a privileged kid of 2017, I would have probably said, "What the hell, you know, this program is not together at all."

ALEX FIALHO:  [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  But, you know, we made our way together. And I ended up—about halfway through they advised me that maybe I should also get a second degree, so I got an English literature degree as well.

ALEX FIALHO:  What sort of productions did you put on, either in high school or college? Maybe both?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, in college—in high school, we would do things like Long Day's Journey into Night, you know, things that were, like, ridiculous for high school students to do.

ALEX FIALHO:  [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  I have no idea. And The Zoo Story. And, you know, classic European experimental things. But in college, as an undergraduate, you do one kind of capstone project, and I did Genet's The Maids.


PATRICK MOORE:  And I think much to the horror of the school, I had an African-American actress playing it in whiteface, which I don't think they knew what to make of, and I don't think I really thought that through very carefully, either. I think I was just trying to be provocative.

But I was very entranced with Robert Wilson at the time. I was enthralled with Robert Wilson. So, there was much—everything was spoken very slowly—all the movement—there was much going across the stage and, you know, slow motion, and everything was very stark. And my dream was to graduate from CMU and go to New York and work for Wilson. And, somehow, Carnegie Mellon arranged that—jumping forward a little bit—and so I went to New York, and that was my little plan, that I would become an intern for Robert Wilson. So I went to New York with my little plan in place, and Robert Wilson was doing Golden Windows at BAM [Brooklyn Academy of Music]. And I went to BAM, and this had somehow been arranged for me.

And I stood at rehearsal and waited until the break, and then went up to him and said, "Mr. Wilson, I'm your intern, I'm your assistant," whatever I was supposed to be, "Patrick." And he looked at me and said in that cold, horrible Robert Wilson way, "No you're not." And I don't know what—I don't know if I was not his type, I don't know what was wrong with me, but I was devastated, and I realized I had no plan. I had no idea what to do. I was this kid who had graduated from a good school and had my little plan, and then I had no plan. And I just went and was a waiter in New York City, you know.

So, I still am a big Robert Wilson fan, but I think he's a real asshole. That at the same time. Because just imagine doing that to some little nice Midwestern kid who—I would never do that to somebody. I was horrified. But that was probably for the best, too.

ALEX FIALHO:  It's interesting. In one of these interviews, I did an oral history of Ron Athey, and he was talking about a project he would like to do and coordinate and that would be in a production of Genet's The Maids, which has kind of stuck to me as something I would love to see, Ron Athey in The Maids.

PATRICK MOORE:  Ron would be incredible in The Maids.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about your interest in visual art? When did that start developing?

PATRICK MOORE:  It started developing at Carnegie Mellon, but at Carnegie Mellon, the colleges and the programs were very siloed, so there was almost no interaction. If you were in the theater program, there was almost no interaction with—certainly not outside the School of Art, but even between the programs and the School of Art.

So, I had very little interaction. I would go to the Carnegie Museum occasionally, but I think it really was not until I moved to New York, and until I got my first real job at The Kitchen. I don't think I had a serious interaction with art until New York. I was always drawn to it, but there was no way to pursue it, interact with it, understand, it until then.

But it was a strange thing. I never also felt at home with theater. You know there's that thing where you just cringe a little bit when you're around certain people, you don't feel comfortable. You don't understand how to—it just doesn't work, and that's how I always felt with theater. And I knew that as soon as I got to Carnegie Mellon that I had made this big mistake, but I didn't know how to fix it. I was too young. But then as soon as I got to New York and as soon as I started working at The Kitchen, which I identified as being a part of the theater world because of performance—but once I started working there, it was much more attuned to the art world.

And as soon as I started interacting with the art world, I knew that I had found my place because everything made sense to me. Culturally, the people, I aspired to be one of them. It was the first time where everything clicked.

ALEX FIALHO:  I do want to keep a thread of sexuality sort of running through because I think it's you know—we are sitting here with Beyond Shame on the desk, something that you have written about and thought about throughout your career. How about any sort of particular development moments around coming out or early sexuality, either at Iowa or in Pittsburgh that come to mind?

PATRICK MOORE:  The biggest thing that happened to me around coming out—you know, I had had sex in Iowa—but the biggest thing that happened to me around coming out really happened in Pittsburgh, because I fell in love for the first time. And this was a big through-line for all the way through the AIDS crisis because—well, actually, to my present life.

I fell in love in Pittsburgh with a guy named Dino Moraitis [ph]. And Dino was part of a big Greek family here in Pittsburgh, and Dino was everything I was not. You know, I was white toast from Iowa, and he had come from this big Greek family. I had come from an uneducated background in Iowa, Dino had gone to Yale and had traveled the world. Dino was not exactly rich, but his father was an eye surgeon, so he had a certain amount of money, and he knew how to—he dressed from Brooks Brothers and, you know, put himself together and knew how to eat in fancy restaurants with the right utensils. And Dino—he was aspirational for me, as well as being my first lover.

So, I met Dino and I was a senior—going into my senior year at Carnegie Mellon. He was here in Pittsburgh because his mother was dying, and he had just graduated from Yale. And I graduated from Carnegie Mellon and was ready to move to New York, and Dino didn't really want to move to New York and, you know, we were in that—we loved each other, but it was—hadn't quite gelled that our lives were going to be together. And he thought he might be with somebody else, this sculptor who was—and he went to Rome for a while to be with this sculptor, and I moved to New York. And Dino and I were not monogamous, but we didn't know how to talk about not being monogamous. And, you know, I was 19, 20 years old. I don't know how people learn how to have all of these adult conversations, but I was trying to navigate all of this emotionally. And so, I moved up to New York, and I basically—his mother died, and he was trying to figure out what to do with his life, and I basically kind of gave him an ultimatum of, "You want to be with me or don't want to be with me."

I had started my life in New York and met this wacky English hairdresser who had a lot of money. And I was this young kid and—you know, he flew me on the Concorde with him to England, and I was having these experiences that were very heady for me. And I kind of said, "I have other opportunities," more or less. So, Dino moved to New York with me. And, you know, at that moment, there was—there were the last gasps of the earlier world left. The Mineshaft was still open. The Saint was still open. All of those—all of those remnants of the earlier sexual revolution were still there in New York, fully shadowed by the AIDS crisis, but still extant. And I was there with Dino, and I wanted to experience them. I was terrified of them at the same time because of the AIDS crisis. I wanted to give myself to that life, and fully.

This is what Beyond Shame is about, basically. I wanted to live that life and get lost in it, but I couldn't, both because I associated it with my terror about becoming infected, and because I had this lover, and we were kind of pretending like we were monogamous, but we both knew we were not. So, it was this really complicated world for me. And Dino and I occasionally would say, "Well, let's go and see these places." So, we would—could at least get to that point, and we went to the Mineshaft together before it closed. And I'm so glad I did that because at least I got to go there and just see it. But we couldn't really—well, we couldn't participate in it at all. We went there as voyeurs.

But at that point, both of us would have these conversations with friends, and it was as if we thought AIDS was this really distant thing for us. We would—I remember us having conversations with friends saying, you know, "It's amazing that we don't know—we really don't have one single friend who is sick." But, of course, it's that really cruel joke that none of us knew that Dino was already infected. So our life continued on.

ALEX FIALHO:  What timeframe is this? Early-'80s?

PATRICK MOORE:  This was mid-'80s. We moved to New York in 1985. So, already that old world of sexual New York had begun to entirely shift, you know. The Saint was about to close. The Fire Island scene was shifting. All of that was happening.

And I was—the art world was very much wrapped up in this, because my being drawn to the art world was also fully enmeshed in—all of the people I knew in the art world were gay men, for the most part. And for the first time, I was associating "gay men" with something I wanted to be a part of. Because a lot of those gay men were—I was starting to become aware of ACT UP—the very, very early days of ACT UP—and through The Kitchen starting to meet people like Maria Maggenti and Donald Moffett. And I was meeting gay people who where gay people I wanted to be like. So it all kind of got wrapped up for me. For the first time, the gay community was something that I wanted to be a part of. I found them all very sexually attractive, but also culturally attractive.

And, you know, I kind of in the back of my mind could see Dino changing, and I knew probably for a year or so that he was sick, but I couldn't accept it. And then, he developed KS, so that's how we knew. But that was a long trajectory of trying to navigate that world of sexual New York, be a part of it, wanting to be a part of it, not being able to be a part of it. And then, it all just kind of falling away as AIDS exploded around us. And us understanding that it was not something that was far away from us, but it was right in the middle of us. And then my professional life became about AIDS as well. Everything became about AIDS.

ALEX FIALHO:  What are some of your earliest memories of what would become HIV and AIDS? What are the first times you heard of it?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, I certainly, like most people, remember reading the gay—you know, the New York Native and things like that, and reading about it. But on a more personal level, the first time I remember really connecting with it was through my friend, Maria Maggenti, who also worked at The Kitchen, and she was just, like, the coolest girl ever.

ALEX FIALHO:  She's come up nicely in a couple—[laughs]—of these [oral histories I’ve conducted –AF].

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah, and she was my buddy at The Kitchen, and we would have lunch together every day, and she was the person who took me to my first ACT UP meeting. And I had seen the Silence Equals Death posters around town, and had, you know, just been blown away by how beautiful they were and how powerful they were. And I knew—I don't know how I knew—that Maria was associated with them. But I made those connections and then went with her to the meeting, and I didn't know Dino was sick at that point.

So we went, and I was just immediately struck by—it was not by the politics. I mean, I was very superficial at that point. It really was the people, how they looked, how they acted, how they spoke. It was cultural, not political. I just wanted to be around those people, and so I started going to ACT UP because of that, not because I was deeply committed to ending the AIDS crisis because I didn't even really understand what was going on for a while. So I started going with Maria to ACT UP. And then by that time I had become the marketing director at The Kitchen and convinced them to let me commission artists to design the marketing materials, the kind of posters that we would send out and also wheat paste around New York. And Maria had introduced me to Gran Fury, Donald Moffett, and Marlene McCarthy and Avram Finkelstein.

And, really, without permission, I invited Gran Fury to design one of the marketing pieces. And they designed what became a very famous piece, which was the poster that said, "With 42,000 dead, art is not enough, take direct collective action to end the AIDS crisis." And it created a big problem for The Kitchen because on the bottom of it were the names of all of the artists performing and the dates of the performance, and many of those artists probably believed deeply in that statement but they had not signed on to make that statement. Their names were just at the bottom of it. And there were people like Karen Finley, I mean, who could not be more in tune with that statement, but their names were just plopped on the bottom of it. The board of directors of The Kitchen had not signed onto it. So, it caused a big problem. We wheat pasted it all over Lower Manhattan.

ALEX FIALHO:  Sounds like the right kind of problem, but, yes.

PATRICK MOORE:  It was a great problem, and I was full of self-righteous anger about it. And I was questioned in, actually, the most gentle and appropriate way about it, and I quit my job. And I called, I believe it was—I can't remember it. I think it was Cindy Carr. Yeah, it was Cindy Carr, and she wrote a piece about it in the Village Voice.

ALEX FIALHO:  About your leaving?

PATRICK MOORE:  It wasn't even about that. I don't even know if she wrote about me leaving. It was about the production of this poster and what it meant. And that ended my employment. It ended my employment at a great time, because I was so enthralled with ACT UP—and I went on unemployment—that I could basically be a professional ACT UP member drawing unemployment, which is what I did for a while. That just became my entire life for quite a long while.

ALEX FIALHO:  Let's stay on those Kitchen years for a little bit. What were some of the more interesting productions that happened during your time there? You were in the PR and marketing arm. How did you start in that direction? And then, what were some of the performances that stuck out?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, the greatest production that I remember was the Wooster Group's Route 1 & 9. And that was done in blackface and created an incredible stink. But it was done on—I remember it was done on the second floor of The Kitchen. I don't know if The Kitchen is still like this, but the first floor of The Kitchen was very industrial and black walls, and the second floor was painted white. By the end of that production, the walls were smeared black from the blackface and the actors. There were bomb threats. It was amazing. And the Wooster Group is still one of my favorite, favorite groups of artists. John Jesurun did his early work during those years. Annie Sprinkle. Karen Finley, of course. It was her great time of performance.

Although I loved Karen's work at The Kitchen, my lover, Dino, had moved to New York and finally kind of found his way as a literary agent, and he was representing Karen as a literary agent. She had published his books, so we became very close with Karen, and I would go and see her perform in nightclubs and—you know, Karen when she would perform in clubs, she would be screaming into a microphone, and then she would pause to take a breath and the hatred and screams that would come back at her from the audience. I mean, this was—it was not a kind of respectful listening to an artist. It was really intense and violent. The reaction she would get, especially from men, in nightclubs as she would perform.

ALEX FIALHO:  What sort of clubs were they?

PATRICK MOORE:  The Tunnel—all those downtown clubs.

ALEX FIALHO:  Straight? Gay?

PATRICK MOORE:  Mostly straight. In a gay club, Karen would get good response.

ALEX FIALHO:  Exactly. That's what I would have figured.

PATRICK MOORE:  But in a straight club, she would get really angry, negative response. And she fed on that, of course. I mean, that's what she was doing. I mean, and one could say that, you know, that was the—that was probably the ultimate detriment to Karen's work is that, ultimately, it moved into spaces that were more and more receptive to her work. But the great power of her work was to see her in a space where she was just unapologetic, and so brave responding to that incredible emotional violence that would come back at her.


PATRICK MOORE:  And that's when that work had such power. The same is true of Ron's work. I mean, now—so often, it's easy to forget that, you know—it's in such controlled settings. But Ron used to do that work in crazy places. I mean, it's unbelievable the places that those artists would do all of that. So, there was all of that and then—

ALEX FIALHO:  Who would produce that? Who would bring them in? Promoters?

PATRICK MOORE:  Just promoters. Promoters.

ALEX FIALHO:  And so they knew what they were getting themselves into, in a sense?

PATRICK MOORE:  Yes. And that, of course, was what downtown was selling at that point, just shock. You know, you had Joe Coleman geeking mice, and that's what people were looking for from downtown experience. And I still, at that point, thought that I wanted to direct or have my own performance work as well, and I had started something called the Blue Black Collective, and Maria was part of that, and a number of other people from ACT UP. And we did a couple of performances that were related to the AIDS crisis, heavily influenced by Robert Wilson—the kind of imagery and ways of speaking. We did one at Franklin Furnace, and we did one at The Kitchen that was pretty disastrous, but we did it. Diamanda Galas sought fit to disrupt it in the middle of it.

ALEX FIALHO:  What was that production and what was her intervention?

PATRICK MOORE:  It was called Dykes & Fags & Fags & Dykes, and it was—oh, it was probably insufferable. She was probably absolutely right to disrupt it. It was about this relationship between gay men and gay women that had come about in the AIDS crisis. And I guess, probably, it was ultimately about my relationship with Maria and my love of Maria. And it was just a series of vignettes and my writing, paired with visual images and this kind of despair but also beauty. And Diamanda found it in insufferable and stood up and starting screaming in the middle of it and stormed out.

ALEX FIALHO:  [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  It's not very nice, but—and Eileen Myles was actually a part of that, and she bowed out of the performance, probably sensing disaster—I think, something like three days before. So we had to redo the whole thing, and Maria had to, like, take on all of Eileen's parts and, oh, God what a mess. But, you know, we did it and it was interesting and many of those people who were involved in all of that died. But there was some beautiful images in it and, you know. I got it produced at The Kitchen because I worked there, basically. And—but I didn't—I don't know, it's a little bit like my writing. I get involved in these things and I want to do them, and I do them and they're important to me, but then I have kind of said what I need to say and I move on. And it doesn't feel all that important to me to continue to—I never felt like I had to be a theater director after that.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about your relationship with Dino as it progressed and also your relationship to AIDS in that context?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, my relationship with Dino was extremely tragic. There would—many years later, now, there are wonderful aspects of it, but at the time it was very, very tragic. Because as Dino was dying, I was descending into alcoholism and addiction, as, I later came to realize, were many of compatriots in ACT UP and many other gay men around me.

But, you know, Dino—this was just really before—Dino just missed, you know, the first effective treatments. He just missed it by a few years. And I had started at the Estate Project, so my professional life was about AIDS. I was still highly involved in ACT UP. So, much of that part of my life as a volunteer was involved with AIDS, and my lover was at home was dying of AIDS. So, really everything in my life was about AIDS. In the course of five years, I had gone from walking around saying, "Oh, I don't really know anybody who is affected by AIDS," to everything in my life being about AIDS.

And Dino became very sick with a range of things, so—but really it was KS that killed him and—his family, I'm still a member of his family, and they are my family here in Pittsburgh. But they had—you know, his brother was murdered in a gay sex murder here. His mother had died from cancer. I mean this family was highly traumatized, and he and I were living in New York and they were supportive, but they couldn't be present there to be caretakers. So, here I was when I was 28 years old, and what did I know about nursing somebody.

ALEX FIALHO:  I can't even imagine.

PATRICK MOORE:  [Laughs.] So, I was maybe doing my best, but I wasn't doing a very good job, and I was—one of my tools was to, you know, park him at home and go out and get loaded and go to the sex clubs, and then come home at six in the morning and be dead drunk and need some taking care of myself. So, I think by the time Dino had—Dino was ready to die, I was not a very good caretaker. And Dino died in October of '93, on October 30th, and I was a mess, you know. I, fortunately, had some wonderful friends in my life who were important people in the art world—that's not why they were wonderful, but it came to be—my work in the art world lead me to them. So: Ann Philbin who's now the director of the Hammer. Philip Yenawine who was the director of education at MoMA and who helped found Visual AIDS and Day Without Art and all of that. I guess Philip is identified as one of the founder of Visual AIDS.


PATRICK MOORE:  No? Day Without Art, maybe.

ALEX FIALHO:  Though centrally involved from the beginning.

PATRICK MOORE:  And Frank Moore. I had a lot of very kind people who were there for me when Dino died, but I was not the man I would have liked to have been when he died.

And when he died, my response was just to burrow deeper into alcoholism and addiction. And I had an amazing friend and boss in Randy Bourscheidt, who ran the Alliance for the Arts, which was the parent organization of the Estate Project. And, really, were it not without Randy's support and love, I probably would have just been on the street. But Randy kind of nursed me through that time, kept the Estate Project running, and I got to the point where I went on a business trip. The Getty asked me to come to LA and talk about the Estate Project. And for absolutely no reason other than the sun was shining in Los Angeles, and I couldn't bear it in New York for one more second, I said to Randy, "I'm going to move to Los Angeles." And in his wonderful way, he said, "Okay, darling, you do that, but don't give up on everything in New York, and you can come back and forth, and there are a lot of things we can do with the Estate Project in Los Angeles. And then, you can come back to New York once in a while, and we'll keep it going here, too."

And I did that and, you know, I—within a period of a few months in Los Angeles, I had completely hit bottom, you know. Substituted crystal meth for cocaine. And I wrote another book, Tweaked, which is about this experience, so I don't mind talking about it at all because I've already written a book about it. But, the great thing about that—there are many, many great things about that experience, but the great thing professionally was it gave me another—I don't remember how many years. Three, four, five years—where I was able to then right the ship professionally and make up for that mess, and leave the Estate Project in a way that I could feel good about when I was ready to move on and do what I needed to do, before I went on to the next step in my career.

But—and as for Dino, Dino is really the reason I'm here in Pittsburgh, because as I also corrected things with Dino's family and made things up to them, I became closer and closer to this Greek family here in Pittsburgh. And my current husband and I would come and visit them, and he wanted to invest in real estate here in Pittsburgh, and so we invested with them, with Dino's family here in real estate. We ended up living with them—


PATRICK MOORE:  —in Dino's bedroom. This is getting kind of weird.

ALEX FIALHO:  [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  But. You know we lived in Dino's old bedroom in their house, fixing up these houses. And really, at this point, they are my family. My nephew from that relationship just bought a house near us. I mean, we are fully enmeshed in his family. I was here when his father died, I was part of that. I mean, so all of those years there is a through-line. I think this was the advantage of, like, surviving and living long enough. There is a complete through-line for me. The only reason I have this job is because of Dino. I didn't plan on, like, becoming a museum director, coming back to Pittsburgh, becoming involved in Warhol, even though he had always been my favorite artist. All of that happened because of that.

ALEX FIALHO:  And when you say the job here, it’s because you were investing in Pittsburgh and then became invested in staying here in some ways and this job made sense?


ALEX FIALHO:  That's pretty miraculous.

PATRICK MOORE:  It is. And, you know, for those of us who have gone through the AIDS crisis, I think that the trick of it is to try to make sense of that experience. Otherwise it just becomes tragedy. And that's true, I'm sure, of so many other periods of, you know, how do—how do people who went through the Holocaust become these joyful people who you sometimes see interviews with. And you're like, "You were in a concentration camp. How is it that you're this joyful person?" I mean, how do you go from there to there? And I think it's true for those of us who went through the intensity of the AIDS crisis. How do you make something joyful out of that experience? It seems wrong in some way. But otherwise, you know, you're left with what happened to me before, which is "Oh, I happened to have lived, so maybe I'll just destroy myself." Because that happened to me.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. I want to stay on this idea of legacy and Dino's—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —and Dino feels like a perfect example. But I want to go a little bit before that in terms of your work with Art Against AIDS—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —specifically. Can you talk a little bit about that time, which preceded the Estate Project I understand.

PATRICK MOORE:  It did. Well, I needed—it relates, however, to Ann Philbin and Philip Yenawine. I needed a—after I huffed out of The Kitchen—

ALEX FIALHO:  That's a good story.

PATRICK MOORE:  [Laughs.] I had met Philip Yenawine because I was The Kitchen's designated representative for Day Without Art. And I had gone to a meeting about it at MoMA, and Philip was working there. And I remember Philip convened a beautiful meeting in the boardroom at MoMA and—for Day Without Art. And I went in my little black leather jacket, thinking I was very cool because I was from The Kitchen and downtown. And I said, "All of you people are ridiculous because all you do about the AIDS crisis is, you know, shroud a painting in black or close for a day, and you're absolutely ridiculous. It's—this is the most pathetic idea ever." And—

ALEX FIALHO:  You said it or you thought it?

PATRICK MOORE:  No, I said it.

ALEX FIALHO:  [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  I was, you know, completely with all of my wisdom of 26 years, or however old I was. And Philip, in his wonderful way, instead of saying, you know, "What the hell do you know about anything?"—

ALEX FIALHO:  [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  —immediately became my friend. And I loved Philip. I thought Philip was amazing and glamorous and brilliant. And he just became my dearest friend. And he said, "You need"—and after I left The Kitchen he said, "You need a job. And I have this wonderful friend, Annie Philbin, who works for a company named Livet Reichard. And they're doing this thing, Art Against AIDS, and you should go apply."

And I went and applied and, because I'm very superficial, I also thought when I met Annie Philbin that she was like the female version of Philip. I was like, "This is the most charismatic, brilliant, amazing woman I have ever met." And I just—I don't know how much I understood or even thought about Art Against AIDS but I just wanted to work with Annie. I wanted to be around her. And there was another woman—I mean the woman who actually ran the company, Anne Livet, was this larger than life Texas gal, you know, who—she was a lot of fun, too. She's sort of a pill, but I learned a lot from her. But it was really about Annie.

So, you know, we worked on this Art Against AIDS. But Art Against AIDS turned out to be super complicated, because there was the art part of it, which was great because we would do things like commission Gran Fury to do art projects. But then, there was the complication of it being involved with amfAR [The Foundation for AIDS Research]. And amfAR was a very politically complicated organization because they would align themselves with all of these politicians that had not always the best track record. And for those of us who were associated with organizations like ACT UP, we had really mixed feelings about this.

And, you know, Annie and I would go about, and other people who worked there would go about, getting donations of very high-end contemporary art and then selling it. That was the business model. And it was the beginning of that in the art world. You know, that not only became very pervasive but also burned itself out as a strategy because artists were so generous that they got sick of it. There was no tax benefit to artists for doing that. They did it out of incredible generosity and raised millions and millions and millions of dollars for the AIDS crisis and other charities.

So, it was super successful. And there was that public art component to it, including famously the bus campaign that Annie commissioned that was based on the Benetton ad, Kissing Doesn't Kill, that ran on the buses in Chicago, first, I think.

But I didn't last very long because I was so highly associated with ACT UP when I was working for them. And Art Against AIDS, at the time—amfAR was going to honor some hideous politician that had, I believed, been associated with tattooing gay people who were positive. Like one of the most outrageous statements, and then they were going to bring in Liz Taylor to honor him or something god-awful. So, of course, ACT UP Chicago—they were going to do this in Chicago—and ACT UP Chicago was going to protest them and disrupt them.

And they came up with this idea that they would send me to Chicago to assuage ACT UP Chicago. And, of course, all I did was go to Chicago and have sex with some of the guys in ACT UP Chicago. That was my big contribution. But I think that—

ALEX FIALHO:  Persuasion.


ALEX FIALHO:  [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  And, I mean, I had a great weekend in Chicago and the guys were great and we had a good talk. But they were like, "Listen, this is ridiculous. Why would they honor this guy? Why would they involve him in an AIDS benefit?" So, I frankly don't even remember what happened. I think that they did it and it was a disaster. But amfAR—although Mathilde Krim was a great person and they did some good research—was always a very complicated partner in the AIDS crisis and in the art world. And, ultimately, it was a rather impure mixing of the highest levels of the art world and the AIDS crisis. And that strategy of utilizing the art world to make money for the AIDS crisis kind of burned itself out.

So, I didn't last very long. I think—I printed out my resume. I think I was there for maybe a year. I was there—yeah, I was there for a year. And we did—I worked on the Washington, D.C. and Chicago. And Washington, D.C. was so perverse. That's the one—other one that I worked on. And we would go down to Washington, D.C., and DC was so closeted at that time. This was 1990 into 1991. And people would come up to us in bars and say, "I'm just going to give you cash because I don't want to write a check to AIDS. I want to support what you're doing, but here's $100." And, I mean, it was that level of being closeted among rich gay men in Washington, D.C. at that time.


PATRICK MOORE:  It was really a mess.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. You were there in the fundraising purpose.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  And then when you say involved with the Chicago and Washington arms, is that also with public art projects? Or, is it mostly with the—

PATRICK MOORE:  I was involved more in the soliciting of art from artists and then selling the art.

ALEX FIALHO:  Okay. Great.

PATRICK MOORE:  Annie was much more involved in the public art component.

ALEX FIALHO:  I'm realizing we passed over what feels like a pretty crucial moment that I want to go back to a little bit actually, which is the time that you mentioned where you were out of the job at The Kitchen and really heavily involved in ACT UP and sort of on unemployment. Generally, your involvement with ACT UP, were there particular actions, demonstrations, that you were centrally involved with? What committees were you a part of?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, there were two periods. The first period happened—

ALEX FIALHO:  Affinity group, not committee, excuse me.

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah, the—well, the—there were two periods for me in ACT UP. The first period happened, I think, between The Kitchen and when I was working on Art Against AIDS, and maybe kind of even concurrently where I was really involved in direct action. And I think that it was about that time where I got arrested at the FDA. And that—I think that was the first time I got arrested. It was a great experience. So, I was involved in what was called an affinity group and those became some of my close friends and my—you know, you would come up with a kind of visual idea of how you would be represented in the action and your group would take care of one another. And then, you would go and you would be arrested together.

So, those were the period of—that was the period that I was not so involved in the kind of administrative part of ACT UP. And that was a very kind of pure and joyful part of ACT UP for me, because it was just about marching and actions and—probably it was about that time that Stop the Church happened, where—in St. Patrick's Cathedral I didn't get arrested there, but I was in the church when that happened, as an observer. And that was a very dramatic action.

I remember being inside a lot of—not a lot, but some actions around George W. Bush. I don't know if he was being re-elected at that time, but things where we would dress up and go to Young Republican events and we would pair up as, like, straight couples dressed up in a certain way. And then, we would get out our little signs and yell and then get it thrown out and those were a lot of fun.

ALEX FIALHO:  Who were you paired with as a couple?

PATRICK MOORE:  I was Maria's date once, I remember. She and I were a couple once and she had a little dress and I had my blue blazer on and—and those were really—they really were joyful. And I loved doing all of that. But then, right after I left Livet Reichard that became my heaviest involvement with ACT UP and that was also with Annie, because Annie and I both served on the big auction that was done for ACT UP. And I, again, was on unemployment. And I worked probably, I don't know, maybe for six months or a year full-time on that auction. And we raised, I don't know, it must have been—it was, certainly, well over a million dollars out of that auction.

But it also was when a lot of my more significant connections in the art world happened around ACT UP. You know, it's when I really became close with a lot of dealers, with people like Robert Gober, significant famous artists. And we all worked together for a really concerted period of time. Tony Feher—that's when I met Tony. And it was an incredible experience, but it also was the start of my falling out with ACT UP and with a lot of people's falling out with ACT UP. Because it was really successful, but suddenly there was a lot of money, for the first time, for ACT UP to utilize. And things happened with that money that we disagreed on.

You know, people would say, "Let's take out a $30,000 ad in The New York Times." And we were like, "Hold on, last week we were marching around the publisher's house of The New York Times saying that 'we disagree with you' and now we're giving The New York Times $30,000."

There was famously a guy who embezzled a large amount of money from ACT UP and the group made a decision not to turn him over to the police because he was an African-American man. And we—the group felt that they did not want to be in the position of turning an African-American man over to the police. And it was really ugly and really—it was an ugly, ugly battle. So, that money we could do great things with, but that money also completely tore us apart. And there was screaming fights on the floor of ACT UP that would go on for an hour. And it was ultimately really, really destructive.

So, it was an incredible experience. I made friendships that I still have today that are still—you know, I met these incredible people. Agnes Gund—all of these, you know, amazing people in the art world that I would have never known—Paula Cooper. But it was in some ways the worst thing that could have happened to ACT UP to have all of that money just rushing into it. Because we were not—we're not—we weren't ready for trying to figure out as an organization that worked in that way how to make decisions around that much money.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about sort of the emotional tenor that you were experiencing at that moment? Can you just—


ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. Can you just describe—in ACT UP, but also the larger day-by-day—how were you feeling at the end of the '80s, beginning of the '90s?

PATRICK MOORE:  Oh, well it was—I was feeling very much out of my body. It felt very surreal because people were dying and very sick. I was also in the height of my addiction and alcoholism, so I was very deadened. So I knew that there were all these huge feelings inside of me, but they were deadened at the same time. So there was this kind of sense of things building up but not being addressed. Within ACT UP, it was, you know, kind of grim and professional, and then a lot of anger that would lash out, people who would scream. It was a very bizarre time because—a lot of lashing out. But also people who had just been in it for a long time, in that life for a long time, so we knew how to kind of get things done, move on, survive. But then, it would just blow up all of a sudden.

ALEX FIALHO:  Can you tell me a little bit about that moment of being arrested for the first time at the FDA?

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  Just walk me through it.

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, we had made—we had made these bloody lab coats—

ALEX FIALHO:  This is your affinity group?


ALEX FIALHO:  And who were some of the folks?

PATRICK MOORE:  There was a guy named Jeff Griglak and Leigh Raines, who are still alive. I don't know if there was anybody from the art world in that affinity group. And I think—I think most of the rest of them are dead.

ALEX FIALHO:  Do you remember their names?

PATRICK MOORE:  No. There were probably 10 or 15 of us. There were waves. It was called Waves. So, there were coordinators and we had made these red lab coats and they had big bloody hands on them, big bloody hand prints. And it said, "The FDA is killing us," or "The FDA has blood on its hands." And I remember the experience of us making them and deciding what they would say on them. And that was a very kind of nice experience of us getting together. I must not have worked at The Kitchen, but somehow somebody at The Kitchen let us make them at The Kitchen. I don't know who would let us do that.

And then, I was working—I was still working for Livet Reichard and I was in Washington, D.C. And I remember going out to—I think it's—the FDA is in Bethesda. I remember going out and meeting the guys in Bethesda. And it was very organized. ACT UP was always really, really organized in terms of large actions. And I remember there just being hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. And—it's like being at a concert or something. It feels very—it was very organized but it also at certain points would feel out of control, like when waves of people would rush the building. And it was one of the first—it was a surreal thing, because sometimes other actions in the streets of Manhattan, there's a density to it and a feeling of compression that can feel frightening. But because that's a kind of suburban campus, it felt strange because there's an openness to it.

But then, people would rush towards the building and some of the glass was shattered on the building. And then, sometimes people—things would happen like—I think it was Peter Staley or one of the stars of ACT UP had crawled up on the—that kind of ledge above the door and unfurled a banner. But one of the organizers, basically, said, "It's your turn." And then you walk up. And it was a little bit—there was a lot of press, there was a huge amount of media. So, you kind of walk up and you're—the arrest part is not so dramatic because you kind of walk up and you wait to get arrested. But you—I remember walking up, sitting down, and then just getting hauled off. The arrest part is not very dramatic.

ALEX FIALHO:  What's dramatic? The whole scene.

PATRICK MOORE:  Before is dramatic.


PATRICK MOORE:  But the other time I was arrested was—which was much later on, was very dramatic and very frightening. But that was not—the first time was not dramatic.

ALEX FIALHO:  Was the later time in the ACT UP context?

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yeah, the second time I was arrested it was in Grand Central Terminal. And—


PATRICK MOORE:  —it was during what was called Day of Desperation. And we had decided to shut down Grand Central during rush hour. And the anger of commuters if you try to shut down Grand Central is really astonishing. And there had been a—a few minutes earlier, they had managed to kind of release with balloons these huge banners that had gone up to the ceiling of Grand Central, which was already very dramatic. But then, we had gone to the tunnels that take you—the stairwells to take you down to the platforms, and blocked them.

And I was actually sitting with Bob Gober on the steps, and he's a big guy so I was—I felt a little bit safe being with him. But people were literally crawling over us. It was, like, just screaming angry, "I have to get home! I have to get home!" And just the level of anger and hatred and rage that—at what we were doing—was very frightening. And I don't really remember the arrest part that much but I remember the people crawling over us, or trying to get over us, as being very frightening.

ALEX FIALHO:  There was a lot of chaotic noise with that action, too I remember. Wow.

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah. So, that was a frightening—and then—but it—that one was not organized in the same way. And I remember when we were taken away it didn't feel like I was not—I didn't have this feeling that—I was with people, but—it was not people I knew as well, and we weren't all taken to the same place. It was much—because we were in the city, it felt more threatening and it took longer to get out and the whole—even though, in that case, as I recall, when we were released, we were just released. There were no charges. But that was a much more frightening experience.

ALEX FIALHO:  You know, I was going to ask, what is the aftermath of the arrest, in both cases?

PATRICK MOORE:  The first one, I had to go through a little process but it was all done through the mail or something. The second one, there was absolutely no aftermath.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about moments after, though? Would you go to the station? How long would you be there? Would you be there as a group, still?

PATRICK MOORE:  The first one, we were taken to a kind of special holding area they had set up in the—specifically. I seem to remember it might even have been tents. It wasn't a station. The second one there were actually—it was like—I want to say maybe Central Booking in downtown Manhattan. And I seem to remember being there for, I don't know, two or three hours. But, you know, it was not—I didn't feel like I was going to Rikers Island or something. But for somebody like me it was a fairly unpleasant experience.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yes. This is interesting context for me to explore, in that I've done a dozen of these oral histories now and I'm realizing that actually quit few of them, for circumstances, one reason or another—while everyone was deeply invested in AIDS advocacy and activism—not many were sort of involved with direct action through ACT UP. And it's interesting to me to be sitting in your director's office at the Warhol Museum and reflecting back on that time.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  It feels like an interesting conversation right now in that direction. What tools or skill set were you bringing to ACT UP, did you find?

PATRICK MOORE:  The most useful—well, at the time it seemed the most useful, were what Annie and I brought in terms of raising money. That's what ACT UP at the time was hungry for. It's what Annie and I could do because we had access in the art world. I don't know—actually, I think probably Carnegie Mellon taught me how to do this. I'm a very good project manager. And I had time on my hands, so to project manage that—the aspects of that auction that I did. Those were the skill sets I brought. The rest of it is about showing up and being a body walking down the street and yelling. So, it was in fundraising—that was my skill set.

ALEX FIALHO:  How did you approach artists who you were particularly looking to engage? What was the way that you approached it? And this is through Art Against AIDS?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, it was first through Art Against AIDS, but then later for ACT UP—


PATRICK MOORE:  Well, the best way to approach an artist is to have an artist. So, we were really lucky to have Bob as part of our committee. So, if you can say Robert Gober, who at that moment was, you know, the hottest artist in the world—he still is one of the hottest artists—but, who had a five-year waiting list—and say he's giving a major work, that is the best way to go to other artists. You need one artist, one major artist, to commit. And then, it's—it actually is not that difficult. At that moment, everybody in the art world cared so deeply about AIDS that they were desperate to do something. All of them had had friends who were dying. But you want to get—you want to make sure you don't get sloppy seconds out of the studio. You want to get something that is good, that is representative of their work. Artists have a tendency sometimes to give something that's too personal. So, you don't want something—

ALEX FIALHO:  That's true.

PATRICK MOORE:  —that's created in too heartfelt of a way. You want the best example of their work. Because really what you're looking to do is not to sell this as a remembrance of the AIDS crisis. You were trying to sell this as the best example of their work, which will fetch the highest price. So, that can be the trick of it sometimes. You know, and when I later on started raising money for the Estate Project, when we did the Geldzahler Portfolio that raised the most money, that was what made it successful. We didn't get Jasper Johns doing something that was nostalgic. We got a great Jasper Johns that anybody who looked at it was like, "Oh, that's a Jasper Johns." We got a [Roy] Lichtenstein that looked like a classic Lichtenstein, a Hockney that looked like a classic Hockney. That's what you want. So, it's not—it's not a curatorial venture. It's a fundraising venture.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. Who were some of the artists you were engaging? How many? In what context were you selling the work?


ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. Or Art Against AIDS, either.

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, Art Against AIDS, it was as many as we could get. So, we were approaching anybody and everybody from Rauschenberg to Hockney to—Christo was always very generous. All the big downtown artists at the time. Cindy Sherman, Jenny Holzer, Sherrie Levine was at that moment very generous. Sali. The '80s star Schnabel. All those people.

And then, with—I'm trying to think—I think probably with the ACT UP auction—Bob's piece, he gave us a Leg, and I think that was probably the most expensive piece. And then, when I went on to the Estate Project, the Geldzahler Portfolio was the most expensive, the most successful; it raised more than a million dollars. But then later on, I started to get involved with things that also were more interesting to me like the Catherine Opie project with Ron Athey. The Ruscha project, which were unique paintings on books. And those raised not quite as much money, but they also—it was a way for me to say to the artists, "If I give you the opportunity to do a really unique project, will you help us?" And with Cathy, certainly, the opportunity to use that huge Polaroid camera was a—it was about her doing something for Ron, but it was also about the opportunity to use that camera, which she wanted to use.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. That's one my favorite [personal moments –AF] with this oral history project, was when I was talking with Ron about making those photos.

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah, and it, you know, for Ron it was a leap of faith, and a hard project, because Ron gave up those images, which were his work and his contribution. And it—the spotlight shifted to Cathy as a way to sell them. And it was, you know, that was my responsibility as the producer of the project to sell them in that way, and I think that was very difficult for Ron. But it was a beautiful project, and I'm glad we did it.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about some of the Art Against AIDS public art projects? Can you tell me a little bit more about what you found impactful from those?

PATRICK MOORE:  You know, many of them, I think, frankly, passed from my mind. The—I really think there was only one. I don't mean to denigrate them, but I really think there was only one that, for me, kind of will be significant, for me, over time. And that is the Kissing Doesn't Kill. And I think that that is important, not only as a work, but also because of the reaction it generated. And they had a hell of a time getting that work produced and shown. And it got constantly censored.

ALEX FIALHO:  "They" is Gran Fury?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, not only Gran Fury, but also Livet Reichard and Annie as the producer of it. It was constantly censored by the bus companies and the transit companies. And the censorship of it, of course, is integral to the importance of it. If it wouldn't have got censored, it probably wouldn't have been as great of a work. So, I think that that, for me, is the one central piece that is so important. Because it was so early on and it's a very Warholian project, you know, if you think of it. But that appropriation of media, it was really the best of that era, I think. Beautifully produced, the production value is so high, everything about it is so sly, the idea that they utilized all those people from ACT UP and saw beauty in all of those people. Because that, for me, also was part of it.

You know, those were the—there was a—you can see in that project the people from Gran Fury looking around ACT UP and thinking "Oh, these people are so sexy in a new kind of way." So, there's a kind of recognition of beauty, a new kind of beauty, in the community that didn't exist before. Because what came right before, really, was clone culture. So, to identify that kind of beauty and—in the midst of ACT UP, I think, is a—there was something new emerging in the community, which is still very influential.

ALEX FIALHO:  I've loved talking a little bit to Lola Flash and Julie Tolentino about being in that—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —as models in that project. Or, more than models, but involved in that project. How about the controversy—once it was produced and shown in Chicago?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, of course, you know, I think that that kind of advertising, in general, has become very accepted in the world. But in Chicago, which is quite a conservative place, to buy that kind of public space was not done at that time. And then, to pair it with something that was about AIDS just was kind of impossible. And I think we went into it with a very naive mindset that—you know, we thought, "Well, we have the money. Liz Taylor and powerful people are involved, and this is good work. And, of course, it will work out." And there was just a complete stop. You know, it just was not happening. And Annie was more integrally involved in that, but it just was very, very complicated. And that is where amfAR probably was affected, because I'm sure that amfAR and Annie did call in political favors to be able to make that happen. But, you know, that campaign also had a huge problem when it was shown at the Venice Biennale. So, it's not like it was only in Chicago.

ALEX FIALHO:  How was it shown at the Venice Biennale?

PATRICK MOORE:  Gran Fury showed a number of pieces. I don't know if it was the same year or slightly before or after. But Gran Fury had a big presence at the Venice Biennale, and they had a big problem with the Catholic Church.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  And Gran Fury is a little bit like Andy Warhol; they like to repurpose their work. And so they did the same with the project they did with me at The Kitchen. And it pissed me off at the time because they just repurposed it. You know they—we commissioned it for The Kitchen, but then they just immediately took it and did something else with it. And at the time—

ALEX FIALHO:  Afterwards? [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  Yes. And it—you know, good for them; it's their work. But Gran Fury did that and—with all of their work. They just, you know, continued to utilize it as Warhol did. Warhol thought, "I'm going to make a film, and I'll make it as a film, and then I'll re-cut it and make it into a different film. And I'll make it part of my exploding plastic inevitable road show and then I'll"—you know, Warhol saw everything as raw material to continue to make new work. And I think that Gran Fury learned that lesson well. And they are just—were about generating as much as they could.

ALEX FIALHO:  Do you think Gran Fury was directly influenced or thinking through Warhol's concepts in any way? Or, is it more just a product of Warhol’s influence over time on the art world?

PATRICK MOORE:  Oh, I would say that all of those artists are much too smart and aware not to have been influenced by Warhol.


PATRICK MOORE:  We've shown Donald's work here. So, I would say Donald, certainly. But it's hard for me to imagine that Marlene is not influenced. And Avram. I mean Avram's a deep thinker. And Tom Kalin. No, they have to have all been influenced by Warhol.

ALEX FIALHO:  I'm curious, the nuts and bolts of the ACT UP Auction for Action. Who was buying? Who were the collectors that you were engaging? And is that part of the gig, I would imagine?

PATRICK MOORE:  It wasn't for me. But there were enough—you know, for example, at the time the Rubells owned the space that we did that auction in. And that building, which later became the Guggenheim on Broadway, and—I don't know, what's in that building now?

ALEX FIALHO:  I don't know.

PATRICK MOORE:  Brant Publications, maybe? But, you know, the downtown art world was a tiny place. So, that was the easy part. If you have a Robert Gober and a Cindy Sherman and a—I mean, all of those artists had waiting lists and we had great work from them. So, it's the easiest thing on earth to sell that. Then, there was other work that was by artists who were kind of a—of ACT UP but maybe wanted to have bigger careers than they had. And that—I have only the vaguest memory of it, but I bet that we had to do some work in making sure that that sold. You know my friend Robert Farber, who had some money and some resources and later had a show at Artists Space—but he was very persnickety and very, you know—you know, wanted to be treated with great respect, as a lot of artists in ACT UP did. And they just hadn't had time to make a career yet, and they knew they weren't going to have time to make a career.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. I was moved by your essay about Farber in "Loss Within Loss."

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  How about the money from the work in Art Against AIDS? Which types of organizations or issues was it directed towards? And how were those decisions made around what to prioritize?



PATRICK MOORE:  All of that money went to amfAR.

ALEX FIALHO:  Okay. That's what I thought.

PATRICK MOORE:  amfAR made research grants. Now—

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah, exactly. So, where did it go within amfAR? And did that dictate anything—

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, that's not quite so transparent. And I actually don't have an answer for you on that. I'm sure that there was a rather elaborate answer at the time. And I don't mean to be snarky about it, but I'm not sure how much went to overhead operating—how much was allocated for research grants. I know that amfAR had a, you know, a review process to which research proposals were subjected. But I'm—I never was clear on all of that. I was a little worker bee.

ALEX FIALHO:  To zoom out, the way that AIDS started to envelop all aspects of your life, to paraphrase your own sort of sense.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  How did working in and around the issue affect you emotionally?

PATRICK MOORE:  I think it affected me most in terms of the Estate Project, because I started to get burned out. And I knew—well, you can look at it as what—as the difference between Visual AIDS, for example, and the Estate Project. I knew that I could never have as direct involvement as Visual AIDS has with individuals. I knew that what I could do is that I could raise large amounts of money, and then I could pay other people to go and do preservation projects and to do good things. And that's the model I set up at the Estate Project. I knew that I couldn't do the good works that Visual AIDS was doing that was about having direct involvement. For one thing, I was a staff of one, basically. But also, I just didn't have the emotional capacity at that time.

So—although I didn't think through that clearly at that time, I'm pretty sure that that's why I made those decisions. Because to raise money is an—can be a very kind of emotionally distant thing. And then, I would set it up in a way that, you know, all of these estate projects—preservation projects, were set up with big institutional partners like the New York Public Library. So, I raised the money to preserve all of the videotapes produced by ACT UP, for example. And all of that was done at the New York Public Library with Jim Hubbard and preservation folks. And it's there forever. It's safe. It's great. But all of that's at a distance. We preserved all of Wojnarowicz's films and videos, and it was all at the Fales Library.

But, again, I'm deeply proud of that. I'm deeply happy about that. But that's really different than dealing with an artist on a day-to-day basis who wants a kind of direct service. So, I wanted to do things that felt like I could contribute to them. But I also had the feeling that I need—I knew that I was not going to be involved in that work forever. I knew that I needed a way out. So, again, I don't think that I had thought that through. I don't think that Randy and I—I don't think I ever said that to Randy. But I knew that my time was going to be coming to an end, and that I needed emotional distance from it.

ALEX FIALHO:  And when you say, "a way out" in that it was, if you were more directly involved with artists, then to have done so leaves more of a gap in providing—how did you navigate that idea? Or rather, even if it wasn't conscious how does that play out? As someone who works at Visual AIDS now, I'm thinking through it in my own head.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO: I'm understanding but I'm hoping to try to get at it a little more.

PATRICK MOORE:  If I'm with you it actually plays out—you know, I work in a museum that's focused on an artist who's dead. [Laughs.] Andy's really easy to work with. But when we have Firelei Baez here, and she wants to do things and she wants to transform the second floor of the museum, it's a really different interaction. Fortunately, we have a great curator. But—there's a great excitement to working with a living artist, but I have to make that commitment to being there for them and I have to have that energy going on. If I'm working on Andy's legacy, I can be somewhat cerebral. I can be passionate about that, but it remains an intellectual exercise.

So, in the same way, if I'm looking at Visual AIDS or the Estate Project, David's—David Wojnarowicz's legacy and how to preserve that and make sure that there's an institutional partner, there's some money to hire a preservation consultant, it remains out here somewhere. But if John Dugdale is there, and I'm sitting with him and he's telling me about this problem he's having and John is there—and, like, John is blind, and John is making this work, and John has these problems, and John is a real person—it's just different. And at that time, I didn't have the wherewithal to be there with John. At the beginning of the Estate Project, I did. So, I could be there with Robert Farber, and I could be there with Tony Feher, and I could be there with those guys. But at the end I couldn't. So, that's the difference.

ALEX FIALHO:  Makes sense. I think now at Visual AIDS we kind of put both hats on, too. Working with artists living with HIV, and hopefully working with estates and legacy too.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  It's two very different things. I think we'll dive into the Estate Project a little bit after we take a break. But I just had a couple more questions about things before that moment that I wanted to make sure we touched on. In the context of Visual AIDS, talking a little bit more about your involvement with Day Without Art.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  Either you mentioned that you were working on it at The Kitchen, what projects did you produce? How was The Kitchen a platform? And overall, what was your take on the stakes of Day Without Art?

PATRICK MOORE:  The Kitchen didn't do much for Day Without Art, as I remember. Partly, because I was so bratty and I didn't want to do much. But, I don't know, I was not a red ribbon person. I continue not to love Day Without Art. I just never connected with this—we're having this debate at the museum now around issues since Trump was elected President. So, there's an endless parade of things to sign onto, little—that's a pejorative word. But seemingly little gestures to make. And the staff wants to sign onto them because they care about these issues. But they seem like really facile, small ways to participate in really big issues.

So, I continue to have this feeling that if we want to talk about big things, we have to do big things. And that's how I always felt about Day Without Art. And I have many friends who I love dearly who were intimately involved with it, but I just never got it. What does it mean to take down or shroud a painting? What does it mean to turn off the lights in your building? I just never thought it was so beautiful or meaningful or—I thought it was preaching to the choir. But for some people, it meant something. For me, it didn't.

ALEX FIALHO:  And do you remember any of those early projects and what or who it may have meant something to, or how?

PATRICK MOORE:  I remember the first one and it was—I'm trying to remember some of the paintings that were shrouded. I remember institutions shrouding paintings. I remember buildings turning off their lights. And that's what I remember. And that's what I remember for a long time. And then, later on, I remembered people doing sort of special projects or showing special things that related to AIDS. But beyond that it just never—it kind of washed over me. I was just like, "What you guys are going to do, it's not for me."

ALEX FIALHO: And then I wanted to return to this question of the money in ACT UP and how that became a sort of site of contention—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —that ultimately, as you suggested, was a part of a lot of folks lessening or no longer being involved. How did that play out in your estimation, or what were some of the turning points there?

PATRICK MOORE:  There was a feeling since Fundraising Committee had raised this money that we should have some say over its distribution.

ALEX FIALHO:  [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  And Fundraising, let's say, there were 20 people involved in it. And on a Monday night in ACT UP there were sometimes 1,000 people who would come to a meeting. And decisions were made on a consensus basis in ACT UP.

So, if I'm one of the 20 people who has just raised more than a million dollars, and then 1,000 people show up, and some of them may be there for the very first time. There's no formal membership rule. I don't know who you are. And you go and, basically, your big involvement is that you've got a loud mouth. And you come up and you have an idea to spend $50,000 of that, that becomes a very difficult dynamic. If I've just spent six months or a year of my life raising that million dollars.

So, there was no mechanism to make decisions about how to spend significant amounts of money, and that was the challenge of it. And I think that if ACT UP were to continue to function with significant resources there would have had to have been a less consensus-based model about how to distribute those resources. Because I don't think that you can do it on that consensus basis. And that was antithetical to how ACT UP wanted to function. It was those Monday nights, consensus-based process, that the organization was built on. So, that just ripped it apart. And I don't know how it could have been done. That money—we went through that money very quickly. The money lasted, I don't know, six months.

ALEX FIALHO:  Was that money primarily from the art auction?

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah. Entirely.

ALEX FIALHO:  How did folks who weren't in the art world relate to it?

PATRICK MOORE:  I think that they were very excited at the beginning because they saw it as validation. They saw it as, "The world is taking us seriously. They believe what we're doing is important." And—yeah, it was that. I don't think that there was a sense of distrust. I never heard anything like that. But then, very quickly, there was a concern about control of the money.

But the single most destructive thing was the guy who embezzled the money because it really got to the heart of what we all—we all believed we were progressive until that moment. And then it brought up the limits of all of this super-progressive feeling that we had. You know, that fellow, whose name I can't remember, was, I believe, a drug addict. So, if I'm sitting there dealing with my own addiction, but his is a different kind of addiction, one that's not prettied up in the same way as mine, where he has to feed his addiction through stealing money, where he is an IV drug user and I snort coke—that's really complicated. And my impetus is to call the police. Call the police. The sucker stole my money, you know.

So, all of that comes up for me, like, me being forced to realize that my progressive politics are really based on this single issue of AIDS. And my lover's dying and I want the drugs for him, but I haven't really come along that far in terms of my political growth. I thought I had, because it felt so good to be in the midst of all of these people and be hearing all of these things and to be—like, being taught by all of these radical old dykes. And all of that feels so good, but then the real world intrudes, and I haven't really made that much change.

I'm a single-issue voter when it comes right down to it. And I think that was true for many of us in ACT UP. We reverted back to—and I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing. That's just the reality of it. We reverted back to who we were before.

ALEX FIALHO:  I hadn't heard that story actually. At what point was it? Early-'90s?

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yeah. That was probably—probably about '92, '93.

ALEX FIALHO:  And then one thing I wanted to bring into the conversation that we hadn't done yet is your writing—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —and your publications. This Every Night, Iowa, you mentioned Tweaked. How does that narrative play out amidst all the other things that we have sprawling around in this so far?

PATRICK MOORE:  I don't want to say that I've disavowed This Every Night and Iowa, but I haven't really embraced them in the same way that I have my later writing, because I wrote them in, just, the midst of such chaos and pain.

And, you know, I had a very nice agent, Ira Silverberg, who, when I wrote This Every Night, not only got it published, but managed to promote it as the first ACT UP novel, which it wasn't. It didn't have anything to do with ACT UP. And I was in Interview and he got some attention for it. But I don't feel like I really knew what I was doing then. I'm not sure what I was doing. But I really felt like I started writing with Beyond Shame and Tweaked. I felt like those were my first two real books. I was still learning how to write before that.


PATRICK MOORE:  And This Every Night was really—if it was about anything—and I haven't read it in a long time—but if it was about anything, it was about really still wanting to just get lost in that sex life but being completely unable to because of AIDS. But being so drawn to it and so wanting that, and—but it was already gone. That life was already gone.

ALEX FIALHO:  What, for you, is the turn between those earlier two and the later two that you've referenced?

PATRICK MOORE:  Being sober. Being sober and knowing how to work at something rather than just being loaded and vomit something out and not know how to go back and work, rework, and make an effort. And Beyond Shame was a little bit of a misstep in some ways, too, because Beyond Shame, really, was my dear friend Randy again asking me to document the Estate Project and me saying, "Well, I want to write about something else," which is how sex is a form of art and to make sense of ACT UP in that context. And he was wonderful and understanding and, said, you know, "Good for you, let's go ahead and go in that direction now." But that's really not what the book was intended to be, but—you know, it was just the ability to grow up a little bit, be sober, and to know that you have to take more time and work at something before you publish it.

ALEX FIALHO:  When did you start engaging with sobriety?

PATRICK MOORE:  1995, when I moved to LA. I had tried in New York, but I just was too damaged and there were too many ghosts in New York, and I just wasn't ready. New York's a tough place, I think, because—well, I don't know if it's tougher than anyplace else. It was tougher for me because there was just too much history for me there. I needed a fresh context.

ALEX FIALHO:  I think that feels like a good resting spot.

PATRICK MOORE:  Okay. You're amazing at this. Your capacity to stay engaged is incredible.

[END OF SD + 1.]

ALEX FIALHO: I wanted to spend a significant amount of time around your work with the Estate Project, of course. And can you just start us off in that direction? We've gone in and out of it already, but how did you start working with Alliance for the Arts and particularly with the Estate Project?

PATRICK MOORE:  I think that Philip Yenawine has kind of gotten me most of my jobs. So, once again, Philip had been contacted by Randy Bourscheidt, who had gotten some sort of funding to—you know, first of all, the Alliance for the Arts is basically—was, basically, a policy and research organization. And Randy had been concerned about the situation with artists dying young and their work being discarded, and the impact of the AIDS crisis on the cultural community. So, he had gotten some funding to do a research project about what could be done. And so, he was—he had the funding in hand and he was asking people who he should hire to do a report. It was not intended to be anything more than a report on the situation. And that's really what the Alliance did. It's not a service organization.

So, at some point, he had asked Philip, and Philip knew that I had finished with Art Against AIDS and suggested that Randy speak with me. And I went to see Randy, and we had a really long, long conversation—about what, I can't possibly imagine, because Randy is one of these great talkers, you know? You get lost in a conversation with him. He talks about fascinating things. And we talked for hours, and he hired me on the spot. And the charge was to do a research project and write a report, but also to write an estate planning guide for artists, and—

ALEX FIALHO:  What year was this?

PATRICK MOORE:  This was, I believe, 1991. But let me look to make sure here—yeah, 1991. So, the report was done in traditional report fashion. You know, you go out and you talk to loads of people and you write it. But I said to Randy that I also wanted to do what turned into case studies, and so I also picked artists in different fields—a writer, a visual artist, a composer. I don't think I had a dancer. So, I had a couple of visual artists, a writer, and a dancer—a composer.

And I wrote the report. And then the interesting thing, though, was to write this estate planning guide, because the idea of estate planning was really something that was reserved for the wealthy and the successful, especially in the art world. And we had—the Alliance had on its board this kind of storied lawyer named Robert Montgomery, who was a big, big deal lawyer at a firm called Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York—and, you know, huge, important law firm, with a lot of entertainment industry clients and some art clients, too. So, they paired me up with a young, youngish lawyer there who became one of the most important art world lawyers in New York, a guy named John Silberman. And John and I wrote this little guide to estate planning for artists.

And it was really interesting, because it had to be something that had very practical advice, but also the idea that if you were an artist who was really successful, or if you were an artist who had never had a show, there were basic concepts that could be applicable to both. And that the idea was that you could be empowered as an artist to make basic decisions, no matter where you were along that spectrum. So, I worked on both of those things concurrently with John and on this larger report, and it was a great experience.

And we got to the end of it, and I said to Randy, "These things have to look beautiful." So, by that time, Don Moffett and Marlene McCarty from Gran Fury had started their own design firm called Bureau, and we hired Bureau to produce the report and the publication, which was called Future Safe: [Estate Planning for Artists in a Time of AIDS]. And we printed them beautifully and we started distributing them. This was before the days of online. And we just relentlessly distributed them, nationally, through the art world.

And it could easily have been the end of the project. You know, maybe it would have continued on in some fashion. But what happened was that this was about in December, and the—there was a front page article in The New York Times. And I was a you know,—I don't know how old I was then, 26, 27—and I was really pretty naive about what happens if you get a front page article in The New York Times.

ALEX FIALHO:  Of the whole Times, or just the Arts section?

PATRICK MOORE:  No, the entire—


PATRICK MOORE:  The front page. A1, New York Times. And what happens is that the world changes for you—not for me personally, but for this project. And there was an onslaught of interest and funding and—I don't think Visual AIDS existed actually yet, quite yet.

ALEX FIALHO:  It did, ['88 –AF].


ALEX FIALHO:  ['88 –AF].

PATRICK MOORE: Well, everything was very small at that time, you know?

ALEX FIALHO:  Very small, yeah.

PATRICK MOORE:  So, everyone who was working on these issues, you know—it was all very nascent. So, I think that what happened for the Estate Project is that there were a lot of possibilities. And probably paired with my interest and my inclination not to be a social service agency but to work on a kind of institutional level and also my feeling that this was a project that one day would go out of business, I wanted to set it up in a way where we would work in partnership with other large archives to save things, preserve things. It's also kind of starting to relate to where I was in my life at that point.

But because we had the capacity to raise money, magnified by the attention that we got—starting with that New York Times article but also connections I had through Randy and other things—I started after that to think about, how can we partner with these powerful institutions, preserve work, save work, present work, but know all at the same time that five years, 10 years from now, the Estate Project will probably go away and all of this art that we work on has to be safe for the long run, for generations and generations? And I don't want to start an institution.

So, after that happened, after The New York Times article, that's really what I set about doing was to, you know, further disseminate the information but to come up with a strategy, an institutional strategy of how can I raise as much money, do these projects, but keep the staff of basically one and work on things that I think are meaningful? But by that time, certainly, Visual AIDS had taken on a very different strategy, which was a really direct involvement of service with artists. There were other organizations in the performing arts that were starting to come about, and I knew that that's not what I wanted to do.

ALEX FIALHO:  What were some of those, the performing arts?

PATRICK MOORE:  Like, Dancers Responding to AIDS was around then. Classical Action, although they were primarily using music as a way to raise money. Broadway Cares.

ALEX FIALHO:  Who were some of the artists that you spoke to in that initial period of trying to put together Future Safe, and what were some of the stories that were striking to you in developing that?

PATRICK MOORE:  One of the ones that comes back to me, because he just died recently and he was very involved with you guys, is Tony Feher, you know. And Tony was a guy who would have been the last artist that I would have ever thought would have become successful.


PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah, because, you know, Tony's work was so ephemeral and his way of living was so chaotic. I just never thought it would happen for Tony. So, you know, you—I remember—Tony was already my friend. I knew Tony very well. But I remember going to his studio and writing about his work and just seeing jars and marbles and little pieces of plastic. And at that time, Tony didn't have a gallery. He didn't—he worked for Paula Cooper.


PATRICK MOORE:  But he didn't have a prospect for a career really. I mean, he had access to people, but truly, I would have never have thought that Tony would have a big career. And I just—you know, his family was in Texas and he wasn't exactly estranged from them but I just thought, "If Tony were to die tomorrow, his parents—what would his parents from Texas, his family from Texas, what would they make of—they would walk into the studio and what would they make of all these jars and marbles? And there's no way that they would comprehend what this is." So—I barely could comprehend what it was—

ALEX FIALHO:  [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  —and why it was important and how it was important. And jars filled with colored water and, I mean, that has to be presented in such a rarefied and special way for it to come alive. So, Tony, for me, was a prime example of this artist who I thought, "How is he going to make sense of this?" And, you know, frankly, had Tony not come across a commercial career, I don't know if he would have had the wherewithal really to put it together ever, because Tony, his whole life was a kind of shambles. But he was a prime example of an artist who—whose entire life's work could have just been thrown in the dumpster. And I think Tony had not made a will, had done nothing really to prepare for his life.

My friend Robert Farber was the opposite end of the spectrum. Robert came from money. He had a beautiful studio in SoHo. He had a beautiful loft. He was hungry to make a will. He set up a foundation before he died, with, you know, a dealer on it. I was on the board of the foundation. We worked relentlessly to put together a traveling show for him after he died. So, he did everything right, and although he didn't have a big career, nobody could have done more to achieve what he achieved, so—and then there were, you know, there were a lot of heartbreakers, of people who there just wasn't really a solution. And sometimes I would talk to them, and there just wasn't very much that you could do, but at least we tried, you know. At least they had some basic information and—

ALEX FIALHO:  I'm trying to figure out how to word this. Did you feel—what were your stakes in estates and legacy until that point? In your prior work or when you had your conversation with Randy, from what angle were you approaching that project? Or did it just develop over your decade there?

PATRICK MOORE:  It really developed over my time there, but I don't remember if it was just before I started or just after, but I did—I think it was before I started. I had seen at the Drawing Center a series of drawings from the Terezín concentration camp. And it became this pivotal moment in my understanding of art and the function of art, because it was the first time I had looked at drawings from the Holocaust and understood that art had the capacity to help me understand something that was not understandable. I'm not Jewish. I may be—I may have some capacity to emotionally connect to the Holocaust, but it's something that's far away from me. I may know the facts and figures, but I certainly can't open my heart in the way that others might to what happened in that time. But I looked at those drawings, which were not particularly beautiful or accomplished drawings, and for the very first time there was some emotional connection that I could make.

So, that became the basis—that experience became the basis for me to think: What is happening around the AIDS crisis is so huge and so overwhelming for me as a gay man in the midst of it, that perhaps art is the only way for future generations to understand what it's like to be in the middle of this. They can read newspaper accounts of it. They can watch documentaries about it. But there will be no way for them to emotionally experience it without art. And it doesn't matter whether it's good art, bad art. It just needs to be a subjective experience.

So, I was not that concerned with the idea of estates. I was concerned more about the experience of art and artists and the function of artists in society and what they do for us. And I was also very engaged in—almost everybody I knew in ACT UP was an artist or related to art. So I was very engaged in—I just was very engaged in the impact of AIDS generally on my community. So, I don't—the idea of estates and—that remained abstract to me. Randy was the big thinker when it came to that. I was just kind of given a task, and I was generally interested in the subject.

What became enraging to me was the level of snobbery that I immediately encountered in the art world and especially in the museum world, where everybody wanted to be an arbiter of an artist's worth and basically said to me, "Well, if they're a good artist, their work will survive." And I said, "Well, who are we to decide whether somebody who is 24 years old is a good artist or not? I mean, how are you making that decision about somebody's life work—life's work?"

And I still think that that's an amazing act of hubris, and I know that we're engaged in it here at the Andy Warhol Museum. I mean, we see proposals come through every day and, you know, in a glance we say, "Oh, I'm interested in that work. I'm not interested in that work." It doesn't mean that we're abandoning somebody's life's work, but we're making a decision about whether we're interested in working with an artist or not. We try to be thoughtful about it, or at least the curators do. But those decisions, when you're making them about somebody's—whether somebody's life's work merits being thrown in the trash or not—seem to me to be so heartless. And that became very frustrating to me around that time.

ALEX FIALHO:  And I'll just say, in a contemporary context, this is a question that we continue to work around, the question of estates at Visual AIDS. And now for many of the estates and executors or family members, formal or informal, who have held on to the work and often, in many cases now for decades, it's, you know, a continued question and for many, somewhat of a problem in that there's not the best infrastructure for continuing a conversation around some of these artists. So, for me, I'm really invested in the work that you did with this project, because I feel its ramifications now in the work that I do, and, in some instances, see its successes, and in others see opportunity for more growth in that way.


ALEX FIALHO:  And I also see the richness of having something like the Visual AIDS Artist+ Registry, which has over 500 artists now online.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  We have the Archive Project, which has been maintaining slides, which are now digitalized into digital form. For many of the artists on our website, if you Google their name, for instance, it's the only search engine that comes up, and you see their artwork.


ALEX  FIALHO: So really their artistic legacy lives on. But often not as best represented as it could be, in our case because we're a three-person staff, formerly two-person staff—


ALEX FIALHO:  —that has many mandates, direct contact with artists living with HIV among estates, so it's a major consideration. And something like looking at your book Beyond Shame, and the list of artists that you list at the end, at the epilogue or at the final chapter of that book—as someone who's been working at Visual AIDS for almost three years, I know many of the artists listed, but not half, probably not even a quarter.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  Which just goes to show, this work can just go on and on and on—


ALEX FIALHO:  —because of the amount of loss.

PATRICK MOORE:  That's true.

ALEX FIALHO:  How did you find it—tell me about the days after The New York Times article and just how the Estate Project grew from there.

PATRICK MOORE:  Let me take a short pause—

ALEX FIALHO:  Of course.

PATRICK MOORE: And then, I'll tell you about that.

[Audio break.]

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, I remember there being an onslaught of requests for information and also a kind of terrifyingly—a terrifying amount of requests for help. And that part of it was really scary, because for many, many people, there was no answer. And that's what I realized very quickly, that for most people there would not be an answer. Because for a lot of people it was a call, and it was a call: "My partner died, and what do I do with his work?" Or—I mean, it was not about making a will. It was about people who already were past that kind of point. So, it was good news for people who could plan and make plans in a timely way. It was bad news for people who were already in a crisis situation.

So, that's what I remember. And I think that also started to shift my thinking about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to respond, because I knew that there was not an easy answer and I couldn't be in—I couldn't be answering a crisis hotline all day long. So, Randy was a really excellent teacher at fundraising, and we really started taking that momentum and talking about how to raise money and became very effective at raising money.

And then, I'm trying to remember the sequence, but we came up with a clever idea, I think, of not only raising the money but leveraging that money. So, we worked—we raised quite a lot of money and then we went to the New York Community Trust and said, "Will you match it and then re-grant everything?" And I think that Visual AIDS was actually the recipient of the money for a number of years, was one of the organizations. I'm pretty sure that's true. So, the idea was: Let's raise this money, magnify it, and then re-grant it to other organizations that we think are doing good work and special projects that we want to do.

And that kind of became our response. And it was an interesting and effective response, because in many of these foundations, including the New York Community Trust, they were giving money—they had art programs and health programs with program officers who wanted to work together but had not, and this was an opportunity for them to do so. So, those program officers were quite happy, it seemed, to join forces and make grants towards a kind of art and AIDS effort. So, I recall hundreds of thousands of dollars being matched and us being able to bring quite a lot of money to the table.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about your—I guess, it's actually, let’s step a little bit further back in terms of time and the drafting and publishing of Future Safe. I know that was your writing, or my sense is that it was your writing, but what was the process of putting that together? Were there things that you had to mull over that were bigger picture questions that spoke to the times and to this particular question?

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah, there were—there was that question of quality. That was a big question. How do you answer the question of, "Does this work deserve to survive? What role does this work play? What is the importance of it?" That was the central question to look at and to talk about, not in the estate planning guide but in the report.

ALEX FIALHO:  What was your response to that?

PATRICK MOORE:  Exactly what we talked about before, that art is not only an aesthetic thing, but a document.

ALEX FIALHO:  Exactly.

PATRICK MOORE:  A documenter of its time. It serves the function of documenting a time.

ALEX FIALHO:  That's what feels empowering, too, about Future Safe, is that it's up to the artist. Not to say "up to the artist," but it's the artist, and then those working who will be stewarding the legacy, that are investing the time and energy to continue that process, rather than some external source that is bringing it to it, in a sense.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. I think, though, that the largest issue that—it was a little bit too early to really explore it fully. But it's what you were talking about with the Visual AIDS Archive. The only way to truly erase that distinction of, "Is this a good artist? Is this not a good artist?" and say, "It doesn't matter," is through digital technology. And I raised that—

ALEX FIALHO:  Mm [affirmative].

PATRICK MOORE:  —in the report, but the—it was too early in the digital revolution to really explore that. We did explore that later on in the actual work of the Estate Project, but in the report, I could only raise it, because it was just too early. And that was sort of the fundamental solution ultimately. It was probably—you know, we started some of that work, and you guys continue it.

But it was true not only of the visual arts, but it was true in terms of dance. You know, we have that crazy system of Labanotation, really onerous, really complicated. There are a handful of people in the world who can do it. So, we said, you know, "Why not explore motion capture technology as a new way to document dance?" And we were actually really early on to be able to take Bill T. Jones into a studio and to document only just one of his dances, but we were able to do it.

And—so, those things were rather limited in their scope. We never came up with a full-scale program to document loads and loads of works by choreographers with AIDS using that. But again, I think that digital technology became the idea of, "How do we erase the boundaries between, distinctions between, whether we can provide baseline services to artists of all sorts and document their work in at least a cursory fashion, and say that they deserve this and not worry about a kind of curatorial distinction, whether they merit a full-scale exhibition or something like that?"

ALEX FIALHO:  Can you tell me a little bit more about the distribution model and where they were being placed? To my mind and generational capacity, I actually can't even think through how you would—were they in museums exclusively? Were they in community arts centers? Was it broader than that?

PATRICK MOORE:  The actual work?

ALEX FIALHO:  Future Safe.

PATRICK MOORE:  Oh, Future Safe? Arts service organizations—you know, there was a basic network that probably still exists of arts service organizations across the country. College art association. There's actually a really vibrant and good network of thousands of mailing addresses that we had, and we would just send out hundreds of them to those addresses and ask those people to distribute them to their networks. And I probably spent a month just mailing. So it was really an old-fashioned, grassroots way of doing it.

ALEX FIALHO:  Were you getting responses about its impact?

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yes, we got great responses, a continuing request for more. And, you know, that was very effective. It was a really old-fashioned but effective way of distributing the information. Not as effective, of course, as now what we do with a push of a button, but it still worked. I mean, I do feel like that got out there. I think it got out more effectively because of the Times running that story early on.

ALEX FIALHO:  How early in the process did they pick it up?

PATRICK MOORE:  Right when it was published. We did that as a kind of launch story, so it was a publication story.

ALEX FIALHO:  I didn't realize. I knew it was a front page. I didn't realize it was the front page of The New York Times. That still is feeling—[laughs]—a little overwhelming to me, and I wasn't involved at all, even.

PATRICK MOORE:  No, it was—

ALEX FIALHO:  But I'm sure that phone number was just ringing off the hook.

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah. Well, it was weird, though, because I was—it happened over Christmas break, and at that time Christmas break was Christmas break, you know. So, I wasn't even in New York. I think I was—I think I came back to Pittsburgh with Dino when that story ran, but there was plenty of attention still after the first of the year when I came back.

ALEX FIALHO:  What were some of the aspects of the guide that people were noting particularly? Or, was it just the thought in and of itself?

PATRICK MOORE:  I think it was the thought. I think that it was written—you know, the copyright for the guide rests with John Silberman. Randy was pointing this out to me the other day when I saw him, and I had forgotten about it. So, it was really written by a lawyer. I mean, I helped him with the "text-text" part, but it was written by a lawyer, and it was written in a way that you could tell it's written by a lawyer.

So, I think the idea of artists taking themselves seriously is empowering. I think the design of it—the fact that it's beautiful—is important, and then the idea that there were resources. There were things that you could do. I mean, they weren't magic resources, but the idea that it's not about sending your work to the Museum of Modern Art, but being realistic and thinking about, you know, a university art museum where you may have gone to school. And to be a little bit more clear-eyed, because we all have hopes and dreams, but we have to be realistic about them. I think that was well-received and probably a relief for people who didn't want to have that conversation with their loved one, but could hand them something.

ALEX FIALHO:  What I think is really interesting, too—at Visual AIDS we do visual art and that's in order to just forward a mission and keep it relatively manageable and feasible, which it's still, you know, a major task to handle all that we handle. But it's visual artists, and I've been really interested in the way that this opened up to dance, writers, composers. But it's hard, because then the loss just grows and grows.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  And the more ephemeral time-based mediums, too, are even more difficult in that sense, although storage-wise aren't as difficult.


ALEX FIALHO:  How—what were some of the negotiations that you were trying to wrap your head around and advocate for and advise around, at that time?

PATRICK MOORE:  In other media?


PATRICK MOORE:  Well, I feel like, I didn't—it was interesting that some of the most significant work we ended up doing was in film and video. But when I started working on the Estate Project, I don't think that I understood anything about it or really wrote about it in a meaningful way. It was only later on—when we started raising significant amount of money, and I started saying to Randy, "I think that there are kind of opportunities to do special projects of really important things that are going to be lost unless we step in"—that I learned about media and film in particular. So, and that's actually become this enormous bridge into what I do now at the Warhol, where film is my entire life here.

But what I learned is that there is no standard really for preservation with film and video and media. It's constantly changing. Nobody really knows what to do. What seems to be the ultimate solution one year completely seems outdated and wrong a few years later. It's enormously expensive, and it's a great big gigantic mess.

So, I mean—[laughs]—that's not a very happy story. But it's so important, because although all of that's not a good story, there is a kind of baseline that I don't think is disastrous. Like, all of the video that we preserved from ACT UP, even though the formats we utilized are not perfect and probably not what—definitely not what we would choose today—already that work is being utilized in every documentary that you'll see about AIDS activism, and it's not being lost. It just is going to have to—there is going to have to be a lot of money spent to migrate that footage again.

But the David Wojnarowicz work, the Warren Sonbert work, all of that in terms of experimental film—the Wojnarowicz work, still—I mean, the upcoming retrospective at the Whitney will hopefully be the first time that that work is really seen. It's still not been seen. It was entirely missed at the New Museum survey that was done too quickly after Wojnarowicz's death and very badly put together by Dan Cameron, I think. And it's beautiful, beautiful work, and it's just—it's central to the understanding of that artist, I think.

So, I don't think that that's a very good answer to your question, but, basically, I didn't understand the importance of media when I was working on the Estate Project, and I think media in general has become much more important than it was when I was starting the Estate Project.

ALEX FIALHO:  It's a big question to try and wrap our heads around. For Visual AIDS Day Without Art this past year, we did a project called Compulsive Practice, which showed nine filmmakers who make work, video work, rather compulsively. But two of the curators, Alexandra Juhasz and Jean Carlomusto—the third curator was Hugh Ryan—were ACT UP-ers and from DIVA TV. And they made a compilation film from these nine clips from these nine artists. And it starts with them in Jean's storage unit, which she hadn't opened in years—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  Pulling out material by Ray Navarro, Juanita Mohammed, thinking through people like Nelson Sullivan, Carol Leigh, who's living now but in the process of archiving her work. And it really stressed the importance to me of film and video as a central medium in a lot of these considerations.


ALEX FIALHO:  And I think shows like Art AIDS America or other projects that are trying to wrap their heads around the cultural production of [that time –AF] have been very sculpture- or painting-heavy, because that's what museums typically do. But I think in order to understand a larger context, the film and video work is central—


ALEX FIALHO:  —if not the most significant contribution, I would say. So that work, I can see why the Estate Project would eventually go in that direction. And it feels really relevant, as you said, the ACT UP material is front and center now in looking at reconsiderations of that time. What was the process through which you started that archiving process with the NYPL?

PATRICK MOORE:  We had very good connections with the New York Public Library. There was—there were—was a curator of Special Books there. Mimi Bowling was her name, I believe. And she had, as part of Special Books, weirdly, a kind of commitment to video. And we started a conversation about ACT UP and that material. And I had been talking to Jim Hubbard and Sarah Schulman about the material.

And there was a guy named Vincent McGee, Vinnie McGee, and he was on the board of a foundation, and they were willing to give us a pretty large amount of money to do the work. They were—he was very interested in social justice, and he was an older gay man who had come out of the antiwar movement and he was enthralled with ACT UP. And we had some money that we had raised on our own and he gave us another—it was a couple hundred thousand dollars.

And I hired Jim to come in and be our consultant, and we preserved a thousand hours of ACT UP video. And it was a long—it was a year or two Jim was working on it. And all of the—all of those people and all of those collectives, those video collectives in ACT UP were just a nightmare. Everybody—[laughs]—everybody was arguing with each other. And so, just the legal work alone of getting them to sign on the dotted line to transfer the material was—Jim had a hard time just doing that, and then to transfer all of the material onto a digital format. It was a big, big project. But the belief was, if we could get it safe in the New York Public Library, that we would have this treasure trove of material forever. And, indeed, it's true.

So, it was hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of work, but I think that that was probably the most significant thing that the Estate Project did. And it was really kind of invisible. A lot of people don't know that we did that, and there wasn't a lot of press coverage about it, but it's the thing I'm most proud of that we did.

ALEX FIALHO:  Whose footage is it?


ALEX FIALHO:  Whose footage is it? I know that James Wentzy's materials are there now, for instance. Is that related?

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah, James was part of it. But it was—

ALEX FIALHO:  That was more recent that his went there.

PATRICK MOORE:  No, James was part of it. But James was also part of a collective. It was DIVA TV—


PATRICK MOORE:  Oh, I can't remember. It was another collective.

ALEX FIALHO:  Testing The Limits?

PATRICK MOORE:  Testing The Limits, yeah. You have a better memory than I do.

ALEX FIALHO:  I've just been in this stuff recently. [Laughs.] That's what it is.

PATRICK MOORE:  It was all the big collectives and then some individuals, but including James. Now, James also was such a packrat that he probably had another thousand hours beyond what we did.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yes. In his—the basement where he lived—


ALEX FIALHO:  That they cleared out more recently.

PATRICK MOORE:  The most, you know, insecure environment, dangerous environment you could think of for all of that material. And James operated both as part of—I don't remember which collective he was a part of it. He was an individual and also part of the collective. But it was great, because they, ultimately, did come around and they did sign the documents, and the material's there and it's safe.

ALEX FIALHO:  When folks would call the phone number, what level of support could you give? And then, at one point did you have to not continue down a path of—did you have a, not to say "a line drawn," and I'm sure it was always individual cases, but you couldn't become the adviser to everyone. And how did you navigate that?

PATRICK MOORE:  Usually, I would just try to send them the—send them Future Safe and talk to them a little bit and, you know, hope that they would find their way. And most people, that kind of was as much as—I don't know if it's as much as they wanted, but it's as much as they would demand of me. And then, sometimes it would just turn into more, for whatever reason, you know? It would turn into a relationship or, for some reason, we would become friends, or I would get enmeshed in their life, or I would have an idea that occurred to me. But with one person, I just couldn't do more than that.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. How about the work of writers? You've mentioned Safe House and Beyond Shame. That's a legacy that I feel is less tangible, or at least I have less of a sense of if it's not a published author, even. What were some of the questions there?

PATRICK MOORE:  Writers is—it is less tangible. But it was primarily about writing a will and making your wishes known. That really was where it was at. But it was also about, on some—I think with literature, it was about recognizing the impact. And so, you know, we did publish that book Loss Within Loss that Edmund White edited for us. And it was about just sort of claiming some writers and their voices. So, we had a slightly different relationship with literature.

ALEX FIALHO:  I love that book.

PATRICK MOORE:  It's a nice book. And with writers, it's—yeah, it's different. But for me, it was also about—you know, one of my really significant experiences was with Wojnarowicz as a writer. Because once again, it was with Annie Philbin, after we had worked together and she went on to become the director of the Drawing Center. And I—we were both highly involved in ACT UP, and her boyfriend, Brian Weil, had become very involved in needle exchange through ACT UP.

And I said, what if we—Close to the Knives was just coming out—and I said, what if we ask David Wojnarowicz if we can have the kind of publication party for Close to the Knives and rather—because he's pretty sick, we won't ask him to read, but we'll ask all of these other people to come and read from his book as a kind of tribute to him. And it was amazing. And we had—like Karen Finley came and read Close to the Knives, and I don't even remember who else came to read. But at the last moment, David sort of appeared and also read, and it was the last time he was in public alive.

And it was just one of those moments—


PATRICK MOORE:  —in downtown New York where everybody was there and all these people were there and he was still alive, but they were paying tribute to him while he was alive. And it just was one of those great moments, where you're in it but you know that, like, something's passing. So, that aspect of, like, remembering that people like David were great writers also, and that literature fills this special place of extending the legacy of some of these artists. And literature—literature can play a role, sometimes, that the visual arts can't. I mean, I think that David is actually a much greater writer than he is a visual artist, for me.

ALEX FIALHO:  Dance was just considered by Danspace Project. They just did this large platform called Lost and Found, which was really amazing, contending with but also a reimagining of a lot of the effects of HIV/AIDS on the dance community, and I was really struck by that, too. It's such a big question. And I think one thing I was interested in, in looking at the back of your—of Beyond Shame, with the epilogue again, was the listing, but also the politics of identifying death as AIDS-related or not.

Often, you know—Visual AIDS, we have a lot of considerations of that, especially as the Archive Project, for which you have to be a self-identified artist living with HIV or passed from AIDS in order to be involved. At one point, when it was pre-digital, all that meant was somebody could come and find your name on a file folder. Now, it's online and that opens up a lot of other considerations. There were a few names in the book who I had an inkling or thought may have been AIDS-related passings but hadn't ever really seen published or thought about in that context. And I'm just curious a little bit more about that question of disclosure and if that came up with artists themselves, with the estates, and how you navigated it.

PATRICK MOORE:  You know, now I think I would make a different choice about that than I did at the time. At the time I was very much—I very much felt like: We're going to claim these people.


PATRICK MOORE:  And I had a research assistant, Brennan Gerard, who was helping me. And Brennan was—Brennan's much younger than me, and he kind of felt the same way. And I think we probably erred too much on the side of, "We're just going to charge forward, and if we're not sure, we're going to claim these people." As a kind of corrective. So, I don't know if that's fair or not, or if we made the right decision, but I know that some people were upset by people we put on the list. But on the other hand, people were not put on a lot of lists, and people were shamefully said to have died from other things when they died from AIDS. So, I'm fine with that, if we made some mistakes. And—I don't think it's shameful to have died from AIDS, so I'm—if we made a mistake, nobody's sued us and—

ALEX FIALHO:  And is the mistake in the publishing or is it perhaps in the misidentification?

PATRICK MOORE:  I think only in the misidentification.


PATRICK MOORE:  If somebody's—if somebody died from emphysema but they really died from cancer, nobody gets particularly upset about that. So, if—you know, if someday I die from HIV but I really died from, you know, cancer, or if I have KS, but I really said it was cancer—you know, all of those things, I don't care. But I just think that there is this shame that remains around HIV. So, if I have not lived up to some journalistic standard, then that's okay. Then, I guess I can be faulted for that. But I don't think I have done harm to somebody's legacy by saying that they died from AIDS and they didn't.

ALEX FIALHO: Take it back sort of—actually, before we do that, the report, which is a different direction that you wrote about.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  Talk to me just a little bit about that.

PATRICK MOORE:  The report was a much more—was a policy document. We find these things should be done in our community. We recommend these things should be done. The report was focused—oftentimes the reports that the Alliance for the Arts issued were targeted towards funders and—well, really funders. They're intended then to be utilized by the community to take to funders and say, "See, there's this well-reasoned, well-researched document. You should fund this." And I think that's really what the report was meant to be utilized for, and that's what we utilized it for. Nobody in the art world really needed to be convinced that much that we should help people, but funders then could take this and say, "Oh, there's"—it was like a super-powered grant request really.

ALEX FIALHO:  I'm really invested and interested in the kind of directions that your career has gone, because I feel like a lot of people nowadays—well, I think it has involved a lot of really important fundraising for things like ACT UP and then really important policy making for—policy writing in a way—with some of the Estate Project, which I think is a little less, I want to say, enamored.

But I think a lot of people want to commission the artist to make the billboards for Art Against AIDS, but the fundraising—people don't gravitate towards that as much. Or the policy writing, something like the report is so important, like you just said. But I think a lot of art world folks might not think to write that kind of document. How did you find yourself in that position?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, I had a good mentor. Randy was my mentor. And Randy came from government. Randy was Henry Geldzahler's assistant. And Randy always believed in—Randy was old school in that way. Randy believed in the power of public policy and government. Had I not had somebody like Randy, I would have been the last person on earth—


PATRICK MOORE:  —that would have thought to have done something like that. But it trained me well, and now many times here at the Warhol we will do pilot projects, we will do reports, we will do iterative—an iterative process to get to something larger, because of my early training in that way. Because I know you can't go from zero to 60 with nothing in between. So I think it's critical. It's the only way, really, you can do really big transformative projects a lot of times.

ALEX FIALHO:  Completely. Both the policy side, or like a larger advocacy framework, and the fundraising side.


ALEX FIALHO:  How about—you sort of spoke a little bit earlier to the way that your personal life was affecting the Estate Project. Did preserving the legacy of Dino's—he was a writer as well or just a literary agent?

PATRICK MOORE:  Dino cast around for a career. He had been—he had studied classics at Yale and was a highly educated man, but not a driven man. He liked the high life, but didn't—he was not so wealthy that he could just sort of go shopping every day. And he—when he moved to New York with me he thought that he was going to go back to law school, and he went for a while to Fordham and dropped out. He was aimless and he went to—he finally found a job somehow with Barney Rosset. Do you know who Barney Rosset was? Barney Rosset was Beckett's publisher and agent. No, his agent in the United States.

ALEX FIALHO:  Amazing.

PATRICK MOORE:  And he—Barney Rosset published—he was the agent for Lady Chatterley's Lover and Grove Press, and he was a kind of storied figure of some of the great—he was Joyce's—he was involved with publishing Joyce for the first time in the United States. So, some of these great early experimental works which were suppressed and censored in the United States, Barney Rosset was at the heart of their publication, and he was bat-shit crazy, this guy.

So, Dino got a job as his assistant, somehow. I can't even remember how. And he went to work and Barney Rosset would scream at him and whatever. But Dino kind of could sense that he had found his area. And that ended in he—Dino went to work for a firm called Curtis Brown, [Ltd.], which was a much more respected agency. And through my work at The Kitchen, he met Karen Finley and Karen was his first big success. He sold her really first commercial book and at that time she was riding high and had become a kind of cultural figure. And I don't know—he sold it for $100,000 or something, but at that time it was a lot of money.

And just as he was becoming—you know, he would have become a full agent and done very well in that world—he started getting sick. So, he worked—his—we lived at 1 University Place and his offices were on Astor Place. It was literally two blocks to go to work or something. And they, after a while, started saying, "You know, you really look sick, like we're scared for you," and he was feeling too sick to go to work, and he quit. But it was really—kind of the tragedy for him was that for a person who was so smart but aimless, he had finally found his place, and just as he was achieving success, he got too sick to work anymore.

So, no, he was not a—he would not have considered himself a writer or an artist in his own right, but that he was an agent.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about the sort of mourning that you were dealing with? Also, you were speaking to addiction. How did that play into the time of that immensely important work that you were doing at the Estate Project, but also just the backdrop of all that?

PATRICK MOORE:  I—you know, for the year that I spent in New York before I moved to Los Angeles, I was just kind of in a fog, and I think I was in a holding pattern and my work was in a holding pattern. And Randy probably kept the Estate Project running during that time. So, I couldn't really tell you.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about Los Angeles? How did that transform things?

PATRICK MOORE:  It transformed it in a kind of negative way for the first few months, because when I moved to Los Angeles—I moved to Los Angeles in December, thinking that I was leaving gray and dreary New York. And it was a winter in Los Angeles not unlike this past winter, where it poured rain for, like, four months. I had never experienced rain like this. It was torrential. It was tropical. Every day, it would just pour rain.

I had also been living in New York for 10 years where I never had a car, so I could get as drunk as I wanted and just get in a cab or a subway. I never had to worry about driving. All of a sudden, I had to figure out how I would drink and drive, which was a mess. And worst of all, I had been doing cocaine in New York, and then I didn't have a coke dealer in Los Angeles, but there was crystal meth everywhere. So, I started doing crystal and, you know, nobody instructed me on, you know, how to do crystal. So, I would, in New York, snort a big line of coke, and I would snort the same amount of crystal, and I would just be out of my mind. I would be hallucinating, completely paranoid—I thought people were breaking into my apartment—and it was immediately very, very bad.

So, I had left everything in—from New York. My friends, everybody I knew. I had gotten rid of, basically, everything I owned. I had nothing. Moved to Los Angeles. My other grandmother and my two aunts lived in the suburbs of Los Angeles, but you know, I didn't—I wasn't around them. So, I knew no one there. Three-hour time difference from New York, so I would talk to Randy. I would have some interaction with the office in New York, but nobody knew what I was doing or what I was up to. I was completely, you know, disconnected. And things spiraled down for me very, very quickly.

So, within a few months, I hit rock bottom in Los Angeles and got sober. You know, I had tried to get sober in New York, but hadn't really been ready, and then I was ready in Los Angeles. And you know, it's one of these stories you hear if you're in recovery or you know people in recovery. My life just transformed. I—you know, I started getting very involved in the recovery community, and I saw hope in my life, and I started addressing all of the trauma that I had just gone through in New York. And, you know—although I spent kind of a year in Los Angeles crying—basically, I just cried constantly—I also felt very hopeful again.

I was completely convinced that I was HIV-positive, and I made some good friends who said, "We're going to take you to the best HIV doctor in Los Angeles, and if you're HIV-positive, you'll either—you'll get great treatment or this person will convince you that you're not HIV-positive, one of the two." And this doctor, who is a kind of wacky but great doctor, said, "I'll do DNA tests on you. I'll do—we will convince you." He said, "You're not HIV-positive, but I will convince you," and he did everything.

He's like, you know, "You're not HIV-positive and if you are you have more T-cells than anybody on earth who is HIV-positive." And finally, I started to accept that, miraculously, I was not HIV-positive. I accepted that what I did have a nasty case of hepatitis B and I started to take care of that. My liver righted itself after a while and I began to go back and forth between New York and L.A., and do meaningful work again for the Estate Project. And I organized the Geldzahler Portfolio, and suddenly there was really a lot of money to do some really exciting projects. So, that's when we could do the ACT UP project. We could work on Wojnarowicz's films.

So, it took a turn from being just, "How do I respond? How do I do something?" to, "What the things that, really, I think are going to be meaningful over many, many decades that are going to leave a legacy?" And also, "What could be—what's interesting to me?" I mean, it was really interesting to me to be able to sell those portfolios to work—you know, to go to Lichtenstein's studio and get the last print that he signed; to work with James Rosenquist; to, you know, deal with all of these famous artists; to deal with these dealers; to go to Art Basel and sell hundreds of thousands of dollars of art; and then to, you know, work with Catherine Opie; to work with [Edward] Ruscha. All of that became a bridge into the commercial art world that I found that I really enjoyed.

ALEX FIALHO:  Let's break down the Geldzahler Portfolio a little bit—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —in terms of what was in it, how it came to be.

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, I told you that Randy had been Henry Geldzahler's assistant when Henry was the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs. And Randy said that, although Henry had died before there had been an attempt to really deal with the AIDS crisis, that Henry had cared deeply for young artists and that he would have wanted absolutely to have helped with this.

So, it was Randy's idea to do a tribute portfolio to Henry from the artists who Henry had made their career, primarily from his landmark show at the Met, New York Painting & Sculpture, in which Henry had made the careers of everyone from Warhol to Rosenquist to Lichtenstein to Kelly, many of the—basically, the Pop artists generation. And so, we decided—we got the blessing of Henry's family, and then we asked Agnes Gund to help us write a letter to—I believe the first artist we got to sign on was Ellsworth Kelly. And then, the artists just continued to sign on and we got—I think we got everybody we asked. And we asked them to do an original work in Henry's honor, and that was the problem I was speaking about earlier. Some of them did things that were not—the Francesco Clemente was not exactly what we would have wanted, but others did amazing things.

The Louise Bourgeois was exceptional. The David Hockney, although it was very particular, was a really beautiful etching of Henry's hat laying on a chair. The Rosenquist was quite beautiful. The [Frank] Stella was very nice. You know, it was all of those artists of that generation. And then my wonderful friend Tom Slaughter did a beautiful drawing of Henry's hat for the cover, and through his foundation funded the production of the entire portfolio. And we got to work with all of these great printers, like Gemini [G.E.L. Graphic Editions Limited], to print it. Ellsworth Kelly did a beautiful print. And the whole thing was put together on a very, very high production level with a beautiful catalogue. We arranged for a showing of it at the Met.

You know, I got a curator from the Met, a curator from MoMA, and a curator from the Whitney to curate it for us, so the level of it was exceptionally high, and it was basically sold out by the time it was published. And I—it—people have said that it really kind of set the standard for that level of tribute benefit portfolio. So, it, you know, taught me many things. It taught me how to work with artists of that level, dealers of that level; how to do it as if it were a museum-level project and not a fundraising project. And so—

ALEX FIALHO:  It raised millions.


ALEX FIALHO:  And then, what were some of the—not to say "consequences"—but what were some of the consequential projects that you were able to then—

PATRICK MOORE:  The ACT UP projects.

ALEX FIALHO:  Exactly.

PATRICK MOORE:  Wojnarowicz's films.

ALEX FIALHO:  Exactly.

PATRICK MOORE:  Warren Sonbert's films. Not only preserving them, but then presenting them. Well, both the Sonbert and the ACT UP material we did at the Guggenheim, and gave the Guggenheim grants to do exhibitions of them. We were able to do things like the Robert Blanchon book. We took money from that, I think $100,000 or $200,000, and made the re-grants through the New York Community Trust, and also did a similar thing in Los Angeles to service organizations like Visual AIDS. I think that project with motion capture with Bill T. Jones paid for that.

The downside was when I left the Estate Project, I left maybe $250,000, maybe even $500,000 of that money behind, and when the Alliance for the Arts went out of business or became subsumed, merged into the Municipal Arts Society, that money just flowed into the Municipal Arts Society.

ALEX FIALHO:  Hmm [affirmative].

PATRICK MOORE:  So, I wish that we would have just spent it all. I wish we would have done more projects.

ALEX FIALHO:  When you left the Estate Project, what came to be? Were you replaced?

PATRICK MOORE:  They never really replaced me. I had said to Randy that I wanted them to just close the project and give away the money or spend the money on another project. But you know, Randy felt that the Estate Project should go on. I felt it should just fold, but he didn't know that the Alliance for the Arts was going to fail, and he was forced out—wasn't his fault. He was forced out and it merged with the Municipal Arts Society. But it was a great disappointment to me that that money basically—it wasn't embezzled or anything, it was just used for the operating of the Municipal Arts Society. [… -AF].

ALEX FIALHO:  Did it fund Loss Within Loss? That project?

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO: How about the legacy of the Estate Project? Is it—and you've spoken to the things you're sort of most proud of, that decades of work, which feels really instrumental.

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, the legacy are the actual collections that were preserved. But I hope one of the legacies, whatever level of support we've provided to other organizations like Visual AIDS—you guys are still going strong, so however much money we were able to give to other organizations to continue on. But the biggest legacy is hopefully raising this idea—not that I invented it, but I hope I reinforced it—that art has another function, which is this documentary function.

ALEX FIALHO:  I think let's take a little break.


[Audio break.]

ALEX FIALHO:  One follow-up I wanted to ask a little bit more about—in part because you've been so open already—and thank you for that—is around the question of AIDS and addiction because I feel like that's a big consideration.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  And I think a lot of people understand the connection, but I don't know if it's been really dived into in too much of an extent, so I'm just curious to open that up.

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. I've done a lot of thinking about it, partly because not only am I sober, but I also am a trained drug counselor and worked in a rehab for a while. And I think that it's untreated grief, and I don't think it's much more complicated than that.

So, I think that it's a lot of people who have decided to treat their grief through drugs and alcohol. And in particular, I think that with the gay community, the social networks did not exist or were destroyed that provided other kinds of support for gay men. So, gay men who were estranged from biological families, and then their families of choice were devastated. And you have gay men, primarily who are all of a sudden in their 50s and 60s and not connected to a younger generation of men because there's not a structure to really facilitate that. And then, they're not—the older generation doesn't exist, so there's not that kind of mentorship and care and their peers aren't there. So that leads to loneliness and isolation, and really, what do you turn to for the most part but drugs and alcohol? So, it makes sense to me that the rates of addiction would be high.

ALEX FIALHO:  Completely. Did you find in your own recovery process that you tapped into a lot of that grief in your own sense?

PATRICK MOORE:  Oh, massively. And the problem with grief is that it doesn't just go away. It has to be dealt with. And you know, I found not so long ago—maybe 10 years ago—that I was still—you know, I was the worst possible person if you were sick in the hospital and you would ask—[laughs]—me to come visit you. I would come to the hospital and, like, burst into tears, and if you had—you know, you may have a broken arm and I would be sure that you were dying. So, clearly, something was going on inside of me that I had not dealt with yet.

And once again, my friend Philip Yenawine had gone through this very odd eye movement therapy. I don't know if you've ever heard about this, but it's supposedly a way of dealing with trauma. And the theory is that—scientists believe that they have found that certain eye movements, when paired with recurring traumatic thoughts, can surface those—that trauma, and help the brain process it in a way that talk therapy can't. So, I found a therapist in Los Angeles who does this and I went to him and it seemed very mechanical and weird. And literally, that's what you do.

He said, you know, "Think about a traumatic memory." In this case, I thought about when Dino was very sick and dying. And then he asks you, like, "On a scale of one to 10, how traumatic is that?" And then, he asks you to—he asked me to think about that memory, and then you move your eyes in a specific way, and you continue to do this. And I went back for—I don't remember—two or three of these sessions, and I started to feel differently. You know, I was not triggered in the same way by the thought of somebody who I cared about being sick and immediately feeling like, "Oh, my God, they're going to die, I'm going to lose them."

So, I don't know if I had just sort of continued to move on in my life or if this kind of therapy really worked, but I think that the level of trauma that one experiences in a repeated way that you have to—I had to at least continue to seek out ways to process that.

ALEX FIALHO:  I've never heard of that. It worked in some senses?

PATRICK MOORE:  It seems to have worked for me. I don't feel so terrified all the time. You know, my husband Joaquin—I used to just be terrified that he would become sick and that I would lose him and he would die. And I don't feel that level of fear anymore.

ALEX FIALHO:  I wanted to bring in a couple other folks who you mentioned in Beyond Shame, just to sort of round out. And we can talk also about—we can use this as a jumping-off point to bring in anyone else. But, you mentioned knowing Marsha P. Johnson, peripherally perhaps, but through ACT UP? Or you wrote about Assotto Saint. I'm just curious about either of those figures.

PATRICK MOORE:  Marsha, I knew in a very peripheral way, only in terms of being in ACT UP with Marsha and seeing her. Marsha was not very present at ACT UP meetings, but was very present in demonstrations.

ALEX FIALHO:  I can imagine.

PATRICK MOORE:  But the thing that is so great about Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson is that she is the subject, of course, of one of Warhol's Ladies and Gentlemen paintings. So, it's just this great thing for me personally to have this recurrence of Marsha in my life. And I had no idea before I worked at the Warhol that she was the subject of one of the paintings. And what a life, you know? What a life that she—you know, would have gone all the way from Stonewall to ACT UP and—well, it was not a happy life in some ways, but—in many ways, but—I never had a kind of personal conversation with Marsha.

Now, Assotto, who I knew as Yves, I spent quite a lot of time with, and Yves was wonderful and, you know, was a very warm and loving and genuine man. And his—just had a great and wonderful presence. And I knew him really through the Estate Project, and I can't even remember how I met him first—somebody recommended I talk to him—but I always loved being around him. And, you know, he was just one of those people who was so genuine and his relationship—he would talk often about his relationship—complicated relationship—with his mother, which improved over the years and became better. But I loved writing about Eve, and Yves was one of the people I wrote about the original report of the Estate Project, so I knew him for quite a long time.

ALEX FIALHO:  Can you—he was one of the five sort of anonymous case studies?

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yes.

ALEX FIALHO:  Can you say who the others are? Is that not to the point?

PATRICK MOORE:  No, it was Yves; it was Tony Feher; it was Robert Farber, Kevin Oldham the composer, and Tory Dent, the poet.

ALEX FIALHO: Were there any works that stick to your mind from that moment—late-'80s, early-'90s—that were shifting for you in the way that maybe—early on you talked about Robert Wilson, later you talked a little bit about the concentration camp drawings at the Drawing Center. Were there any other ones that really—

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, you know I was not early on a big fan of Felix Gonzales-Torres. I never understood the go-go boy platforms. I had—for a long, long time, I just—it was too heady for me. And then it—later on I realized that I had been sitting at my office in the Alliance for the Arts and looking out at this billboard of an empty bed for months, and there was such a lyrical sadness to it, this empty bed, this rumpled, empty bed. And it was so—I had no idea what it was.

And it was only later that I realized it was a public artwork by Felix. And there was a—it was a moment of growth for me in terms of thinking about—I had been so enamored of the kind of polemic way of art addressing the AIDS crisis, and it was then that I began to think more about that more conceptual, softer, more poetic way of work that addressed the crisis. And, you know, the two lovers, the clocks, and of course, the candy pieces which are so beautiful. You know, the idea of their diminishing but being replenished is so beautiful to me, as we sit and eat candy Kisses. But I think that Felix's work was critical for me in understanding that not everything had to be so direct in its—in the way it addressed AIDS to be important.

ALEX FIALHO:  I really appreciate your intervention in Beyond Shame, though, almost in a flipside to keep it—keep that centrally part of the conversation as maybe a market value or collector base or estate has taken the conversation in other directions.

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah, and it's true that—you know, I will never forget Rosa de la Cruz saying to me, "Oh, you know, Felix? Why do people have to talk about Felix dying of AIDS?" And I was like, "What do you—what do you think this work is about? Why—you deeply love this man and this art and care about him. How could you collect this work and not talk about that?" And it's just wrapped up in her homophobia. It's—no, I—she may have come along since then, I don't know, but I was horrified by that conversation.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah, that's upsetting. We've talked about the major projects, but at the Estate Project were there any sort of smaller scale projects or particular estates that you worked in and around that feel of note and you may be particularly proud of?

PATRICK MOORE:  Oh, boy, I'm sure there were. Well, Kevin Oldham, the composer.

ALEX FIALHO:  He's in the Times article?

PATRICK MOORE:  He is. He actually was pictured on the front page of The New York Times. He—his work became—it was regularly performed—it's not as if Kevin became very famous, but he certainly is somebody who managed to have his work performed and for it to have its best shot at kind of being remembered. And he was a serious composer and he was a lovely and very genuine man, and I was so happy for him to get that recognition. There's a woman in downtown New York who still performs—Mimi Stern-Wolfe, you know—and she does concerts every year of all of that music around the AIDS crisis. And you know, she's just deeply—I can't remember the name of the series she does—the Benson Series, I think it's called—but she's very committed to it. And you know, she makes sure that that work remains performed every year.

ALEX FIALHO:  She's on my radar, too, maybe in this instance, or I think a relationship to Arthur Russell. But, yes, I didn't realize—I hadn't made the connection—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —but that's great. One thing I'm curious about is just the office. You mentioned that Felix—the billboard—where was the office for Estate Project?

PATRICK MOORE:  42nd Street in the old—it's getting to be late in the afternoon—the McGraw-Hill building, the green building next to the Port Authority.

ALEX FIALHO: You were with the Alliance for the Arts—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —in their office?


ALEX FIALHO:  And then, the Opie-Athey project. I wanted to prompt you in that direction just in case there is anything else, just because that's such a great one. Were you on site during that Polaroid moment?

PATRICK MOORE:  Very much so. It was—you know, Cathy did it really out of her love for Ron because half of the money went directly to Ron. But, I can't remember how I had found out about that camera, but that was the other reason. I don't flatter myself that Cathy did it because of my salesmanship, but she—you know, that camera is an extraordinary thing. It's—the film no longer exists for it, so it was the last opportunity to use that camera, and we would organize for Cathy and Ron and Divinity and all these folks to come from Los Angeles, and there was a great big snowstorm, and we had to cancel it. And then, we rescheduled it, so it was kind of a big production. You know, there was like eight people flying from Los Angeles, and it's not an insignificant amount of money to make it happen.

So, anyway, we rescheduled the whole thing and we were there for—I think we were there in that—it was on, I think, like Sixth Street off of the Bowery in this weird old garage, and, you know, the entire room is basically—you're in the camera, kind of, and two people pull the film through the camera. It's very challenging to focus it and light it. And then, you know, you have Ron doing all these amazing things, getting a fist up his ass and piercing himself. So he's doing these very physically challenging things, but there—it was a joyful atmosphere and an incredible atmosphere, and then you have the miracle of seeing the work. It's a Polaroid; you see it develop in front of you, so it's instantaneous.

ALEX FIALHO:  Amazing.

PATRICK MOORE:  And Cathy is the most generous and low-key and wonderful of artists to work with. And, you know, they are friends and collaborators, and so they work together in a wonderful way. And Ron has, you know, that troop of people who he's with, so it was really a very, very special thing. And I was there for all of it and loved being a part of all of it. It was—well, that and working with Ed Ruscha were the most special of all the projects I did. And it was—and they were so beautiful, those pictures. I think, you know, the most beautiful of them in a way was the one that didn't have Ron in it, which was just Leigh Bowery's cape over the empty chair.

ALEX FIALHO:  They're all so amazing. Was it one day?

PATRICK MOORE:  I think it was two days it took to take them, yeah.

ALEX FIALHO:  Two days. That's a lot—[laughs]—in two days.


ALEX FIALHO:  To kind of loop all the way back to the beginning, in a way—but how was your family responding to the work around AIDS that you were doing?

PATRICK MOORE:  They didn't understand it and didn't really have a full awareness of it, and I didn't make a great effort for them to understand it. I'm sure that I never showed them the images of the Opie photographs.

ALEX FIALHO:  [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  I know that I never showed them those images. So, they only had a—you know, they knew that I had a good job and a steady job. And they knew Randy and liked Randy and knew that he was a nice man and he wore a suit and treated me well. But you know, they only had the most peripheral understanding of what I was doing. And I think they probably were deeply relieved when I was no longer working on something that dealt with AIDS.

ALEX FIALHO:  We've talked around communities and you know, things like affinity groups and Maria and people who were close with, Philip—are there—was there a group of people, either—you did the Estate Project with Randy, but sort of on your own, in a way. A thing that has come through a lot of the other interviews that I've done is schools or communities or close collaborative relationships. Is there anything that we haven't touched on that feels really relevant in terms of either ongoing conversations with particular artists that you have had? Or people's work who were working alongside you at the moment? ACT UP, of course, is the biggest community, so that's probably the answer. But—

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, people have kind of floated back into my life a little bit, but you know, there are certain core people who have stayed in my life. You know, Annie and Philip are still very strongly in my life. Donald Moffett and Robert Gober are still in my life.

But you know, I kind of restarted my life in Los Angeles, so a lot of people fell away. And I have professional relationships now in the art world that I'm happy to see people and they're happy to see me and we may have working relationships, but it's not—for example, Raj [Rajendra] Roy at the Museum of Modern Art is somebody I worked with very closely on some of the film projects and we have an intensely close working relationship. But that probably is the closest working relationship I have with anybody from those early days because we worked on the ACT UP film project together. But many of those other people, it's just—no, it feels like a different life to me. They're not in my life.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about your life now and the work that you do here in Pittsburgh and have done at the Warhol Museum? Tell me a little bit about the stakes that you're particularly interested in here.

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, it's really weird because in some ways it's an entirely new world, but it also draws me right back to the very beginning, because when—for much of my life in Los Angeles I was completely cut off from the art world. So, when I moved to Pittsburgh, it was for Joaquin, my husband, and for him to pursue a career in real estate development. And then, I thought, "I need a job and I used to work in the art world and Warhol's my favorite artist, so I'll get a job at the Warhol." And I worked my way up until I found myself to be the director. But, you know, Pittsburgh is a very particular place, and if I were not at the Warhol it probably would seem like I was living in a different universe.

But I go all the time to New York, and I'm involved with people like Raj. And in particular, my great obsession is Warhol film, and it's the area of Warhol's work that I care most about. It's the area where I can contribute most because Warhol's film is really unbelievably unknown and we're in the center of rediscovering Warhol's film and I find myself knowing a lot about film preservation from, actually, my time at the Estate Project. So, that's the area of the program that I have been most intensely involved in, and it's the area where the—I'll lead the museum most strongly.

ALEX FIALHO:  Warhol passed away in '87?

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  What was his relationship to AIDS? [I know your curator here Jessica Beck is doing thoughtful research and writing on this topic –AF].

PATRICK MOORE:  I would say that it probably was almost nonexistent. I don't know that because there's almost no evidence of him talking about it that I know of. We do know that Warhol had an intense relationship to his own body and to a fear of disease and a fear of death and a fascination with death. So, had Andy lived, he would not only have been highly affected and compassionate about AIDS, but also deeply afraid of it because he was afraid of everything to do with disease and, you know, perversely and morbidly and obsessively fascinated with his own body.

We just did a really beautiful exhibition here called My Perfect Body that looked at his own fascination and shame around his body throughout his own life. But I think that Andy's life had become—you know, there was a lot going on in his life by the time he died and AIDS was still kind of ascendant, so I don't think it had taken shape in a way that he probably understood or was that aware of by the time he died.

ALEX FIALHO:  Are there any instances of him talking exclusively about it?

PATRICK MOORE:  Not that I have ever found.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah, that doesn't come on to my consciousness, [though Jessica’s research speaks to specific instances –AF]. And the time overlap does, New York, obviously. And Haring, and yet—

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah, but Keith was not really sick by then. Yeah, I—and not really active in AIDS by '87. The next year he would have been. So, yeah, I think it was just—had Andy lived another year or two years, he certainly would have been—I mean, he would have—if nothing else, we would have all been relentlessly asking him for work.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. [Laughs.]

PATRICK MOORE:  And, you know, many of the people he loved would have also been dying, so.

ALEX FIALHO:  What are you excited about here in your new role as a director?

PATRICK MOORE:  I'm excited about our curatorial program, because we now have curators working for us who are going to show a different side to Warhol. We're working on, for example, a show at the Vatican—


PATRICK MOORE:  —which is deeply fascinating to me, to talk about Warhol as a gay man and a Catholic.

ALEX FIALHO:  Where at the Vatican?

PATRICK MOORE:  At the Vatican Museum. And Jose will be co-curating it. And he and I are going to the Vatican for—we've already had two meetings with them and for a third meeting this summer. And they've committed. We don't have the date yet, but we're that far along in the discussions. But, listen, I was inside St. Patrick's Cathedral when they were spitting the host out on the floor, so it's not as if I don't have a complicated relationship with Catholicism, and I would not have predicted that the thing that would interest me most about Warhol would be his religious life. But where you'll see as you spent time in Pittsburgh—this is a city of churches; this is an immigrant city, a deeply religious city, and those are the roots from which Warhol came.

He continued to go to church throughout his life and the last works in his life return to Catholic imagery, and not in a cynical way, although you could read those works in that way. But I believe that that's the opportunity for the museum to start to reshape that view of Warhol and his latter work, to show that he was and did remain a deeply spiritual person. The Shadow paintings, I believe, are spiritual works. And for the Warhol to mount an exhibition at the Vatican and for us to look at Warhol as a devout Catholic and as a gay man, I think, is really interesting and, for me, much more interesting than another Warhol at Studio 54 and glamor and celebrity. I find that really boring. So, I'm very interested in that.

ALEX FIALHO:  That sounds great.

PATRICK MOORE:  I'm very interested in premiering—you know, we're digitally transferring all of Warhol's films and we're going to be showing the restored Chelsea Girls next year at MoMA and rolling out new premieres of all of these films that—there are something like 40 titles that have never been seen. So, I'm interested in Warhol's film legacy. And then, on a business level I'm interested in us transforming the business model here and moving away from these large traveling exhibitions which have provided financial stability, but they have to stop because Warhol's work is actually quite fragile, and we just can't travel it as much as we did before and we have to—I'm interested in us being a little bit more aggressive than we have before, and saying, "We're not just this lending facility to New York institutions. We want to have a seat at the table and we are the keeper of Warhol's legacy. So, thank you very much, MoMA, thank you very much, Whitney, but we are going to be at the table and we're going to—we're going to call the shots."

ALEX FIALHO:  And that means co-curating the projects?

PATRICK MOORE:  Yes. So, that's a difficult transition and those have been difficult conversations already with my colleagues because they've gotten, you know, accustomed to us just turning over our collection whenever they ask. And, you know, for me, as somebody who's sort of new to the museum world, it can be quite heady to be with these people and it is challenging for me to say no. But that's what I'm doing right now, is saying no to a lot of things, and saying, "No, you have to give us a better deal." But it's also empowering for the institution. So, that's what I feel good about. I feel enthusiastic about it and I feel—yeah, I feel it's empowering. And Pittsburgh's in a very good moment. It's, you know, it's having its—there was an article yesterday in The New York Times, you know, another article about "Pittsburgh's being remade by culture," and of course it talks about the Warhol. So, we are at a moment where we can use the museum as a kind of key indicator of the city's vitality and—but we you have to—

ALEX FIALHO:  What other scenes did it talk about in that article?

PATRICK MOORE:  It talked about the Mattress Factory. It talked about the History Center. It talked about a kind of sweet but silly artist's project called Randyland, here on the North Shore. It didn't talk about some of the other museums, but it basically was talking about things that tourists would do and what brings tourists here, so these are things that are unique. So, that's why it perhaps wouldn't talk about the Carnegie, because it's a wonderful collection, but you can see a Monet at most great encyclopedic museums. So, it was really talking about that and it was in the Travel section. And yeah, I feel good about the Warhol's capacity to be seen as driver of tourism and economic development here.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah, I think—this is my first day in Pittsburgh, really, but I had planned to come at some point in the near future, independent of this project, to see the Mattress Factory, in particular Greer Lankton's installation there, and then—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —to come to the Warhol Museum and that felt like more than enough reason to make a trip happen,.

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah. And then, you add Fallingwater in and you really have a reason to come to Pittsburgh.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. To sort of zoom out a lot or—how do you think that the work you did around AIDS during that time influences the work you still do now?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, it certainly taught me project management. It sounds so boring. It taught me how to work in times of stress and crisis. It gave me connections in the art world. I still call on some of those people. It taught me visual skills. You know, if you look at the visual—the level of visual sophistication of a lot of what happened in the '80s and '90s, it was incredibly high, and that was my training ground. I didn't go to school for visual arts, so what I learned I learned from ACT UP and Gran Fury and those were my teachers, so that was my schooling. And I—you know, the Warhol has very good taste, so that's what I use now and I know what looks good and I know what looks bad.

And also, I think, just a sense of relevance and what is important. I mean, I have a fairly low tolerance for silly things. Not that I don't like fun things, but certainly, as a director here, I'm not so interested in the whole Studio 54 thing, and I was a little bit impatient with that before I became director. It was like, "Okay, I get it, but we have more important things to talk about here." And I think that came from, you know, living through something that was really horrible, but also inspiring at the same time. So, I want to talk about things that are more important than Studio 54.

ALEX FIALHO:  In the—I guess, prologue or intro comments of Beyond Shame, you talk a little bit about how the book was an intergenerational project. How do you think about AIDS in relationship to intergenerational work?

PATRICK MOORE:  I was very depressed about the—about intergenerational things, but then I meet people like you, you know, who seem interested in history and open to having relationships and friendships and meaningful interactions with older generations of gay men. And my relationship with Jose here is an amazing relationship. So, I'm becoming more hopeful, but I really thought it was irreparably broken for a while.

ALEX FIALHO:  Why was that?

PATRICK MOORE:  I just didn't have anything like that. You know, that's not true. I did begin to have it in recovery. That's one area of my life I did, because, recovery, it erases all lines, you know between different classes of people and different ages of people. But in other areas of my life I didn't have it. I didn't have friendships with young gay men, I didn't have those relationships. I also didn't have friendships with older gay men because they were all dead. But that started to change, so that's really hopeful.

I don't know, if I were a young gay man—that that kind of wild west of gay sexuality that existed at one time, where gay men were sort of mentored sexually through—I'm not so sure that that culture exists anymore. I couldn't tell you because I'm old and I don't participate in it anymore, but I don't know about that. But that whole world of leather culture, and all of that that was so interesting to me at one time, you know I'm married to a very middle-class possessive Spaniard so it's not like we're going to be out exploring all of that. But I think that there was a benefit to that. It certainly doesn't seem to exist to me, but maybe there's a world that I don't know about.

ALEX FIALHO: You touch on a little bit in the section of Beyond Shame, on racial demographics and shifts around AIDS and, you know, if I'm being frank, I'm pretty frustrated with a larger whitewashing around histories of AIDS, and I feel like shows like Art AIDS America, which was rightfully critiqued in that way, with protests around "#stoperasingblackpeople" in Tacoma—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —resonated, and I mean this project is I think deeply valuable but also, I think flawed, in that regard—not enough voices of color either in interviewers or interviewees.


ALEX FIALHO:  In your work in the Estates Project or otherwise, is there any lesson learned, or artists that could be useful to consider?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, I think that the story of Estate Project and of downtown New York at the time I lived in it was one of—it was reflective of the art world and the culture at that time. It was a white culture.

So, you know, yes there were Assotto and Marlon Riggs and people like that that we loved but they were very few and far between, and not reflective of thousands and thousands and thousands of other artists that were just completely unknown, and there wasn't even a mechanism for knowing them. So, that's the reality of it.

I think that the art world is very different now. You know, if I think about the artists that we're showing this year and next year, part of that is reflective of Jose and Jessica and their interest, but I also think it's reflective of the art world. The art world is a much bigger and more diverse and complicated place than it was in the late-'80s and early-'90s. I think. I mean, it seems like it to me.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. Still fraught, and still a lot of tension around that as you can see, you know, in the Whitney Biennial Controversies—

PATRICK MOORE:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ALEX FIALHO:  —which are recurring, but.

PATRICK MOORE:  But it's—my world and my view of the AIDS crisis was very myopic in those days. It was a view of 20 square blocks, and I was very possessive of it, and it's a very narrow view.

ALEX FIALHO:  I'm going to get a little rhetorical and ask you some questions that you ask rhetorically in your writing. But I'm curious to hear—and the writing itself does the work of answering those questions but I'm just curious to hear what the prompts open up for you. One is: "How can one turn the attention of a major institution to work that's considered marginal?" As we said, the Warhol Museum, as we think about some of the work that you've done prior.

PATRICK MOORE:  I think by turning the—by treating the work the same way you would treat Warhol. You know, I am thinking about—for example, next year—we used to in most institutions, most museums in Pittsburgh, used to have these kind of well-intentioned shows for Pittsburgh artists. "Oh, we'll do the Pittsburgh biennial and we can show some Pittsburgh artists." And it seemed to me to be the most insulting possible thing that you could do. Like, an artist who lived in Pittsburgh could not possibly be good enough to be shown in a museum. So, the next year, Jessica said there's this really amazing artist who works here, I would like to give them a solo show. And I said "Fantastic, if the work warrants it, give him a solo show the way we give anybody else a solo show."

So it turns out, this guy is a painter. He's a gay African-American man who teaches at Carnegie Mellon, he's an amazing painter. He's going to have his first solo museum show at the Warhol. And I think that that's how you treat work that might to someone seem marginal, you just treat the work the same way that you would treat any other work. Everything is of the same level.

ALEX FIALHO:  Yeah. That's Devan?

PATRICK MOORE:  Devan [Shimoyama], yeah.

ALEX FIALHO:  Nice. I met him through the Fire Island Artist Residency. He's amazing.

PATRICK MOORE:  He's great and he totally deserves this show.

ALEX FIALHO:  Completely.

PATRICK MOORE:  I'm so happy she's giving him the show. And—but, you know, he gets a full dress museum exhibition, and why not?

ALEX FIALHO:  How about bringing some of these younger artists that may not be the immediate association with Warhol, but like I said—the Firelei Báez’ show as an example—what's the reaction of folks who come and think through his legacy in relationship to some newer voices?

PATRICK MOORE:  The reaction now is very positive because of the way the museum is hung. Because most people come here for Warhol, and most people start on the seventh floor; that's what we ask them to do. So they've had their fill of Warhol, and then they're willing to look at something else. It used to be a crazy choice, that you would start on the seventh floor and that's where the temporary exhibitions were. So people would start their visit with this feeling of disorientation and discontent. So, often they would come and they would see another artist and they were like, "I'm here to see Warhol." So even if it was the most fantastic artist, they would be very resistant to it. Now, we get almost no feedback that's negative. And Firelei has been really popular.

ALEX FIALHO:  I can imagine. How about—how does one be a historian and an activist at once?

PATRICK MOORE:  I think that the two are the same thing. I think being a historian is inherently an activist activity.

ALEX FIALHO:  In that—?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, if—I believe that history is cyclical, so the lessons that we learn on the last cycle will be valuable on the next cycle. Otherwise, you know, that old chestnut about—you know, we're forced to repeat ourselves. If we learn our history and convey our history to others, it will inherently benefit others in terms of activism and making the world better.

ALEX FIALHO:  How about—what role do artists and art play in a society in crisis? Which, I feel like we're kind of—[laughs]—in right now. Different kind but—

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, artists can distill a message and convey it in a moment of utter despair that—I don't know about you, but I just cannot read The New York Times one more day sometimes. But I can sometimes, you know, hear a message from an artist that still seems hopeful or inspiring or will move me.

And oftentimes that message now that I'm looking for is not a polemical message. It's a whimsical or poetic message or—you know, Firelei's work is quite inspiring. Firelei's work is often about history, about, you know, showing how people who were oppressed made something beautiful in the face of oppression. So, I think that artists have a way of communicating that we can hear and listen to in moments where it's just too much and too depressing. I just—I can't really have another conversation about Trump right now. It's just—I can't do it. And Joaquin—when I come home and Joaquin wants to talk about politics, I just want to tell him to shut the fuck up. It's, like, "I know you want to talk about this right now, but I don't want to talk about it."

ALEX FIALHO: We have thought about legacy throughout the work that you've done—and this is kind of a wrapping up question for the artists during these oral histories, which lands a bit differently for someone who's worked in the ways that you have—but, in terms of your own legacy, and its relationship to American art, or the way that your projects will be viewed moving forward?

PATRICK MOORE:  Well, that's a big one. I'm hopeful, first of all, that—you know, my career seemed to me often to be this disconnected series of events, so I'm hoping first of all that in retrospect they might add up and not seem disconnected. So, right now I'm trying to figure out how Warhol is somehow the summation of some of these earlier things that I was interested in. And I haven't quite figured out that connection yet, how that connects back to this moment in New York in particular. How art captures a moment in time, because I think that the Warhol Museum is not about Warhol.

I think that's why people are fascinated with Warhol. It's not about Warhol. It's about a moment in time that was amazing in American culture. I don't think it's really ultimately about Andy, I think Andy is a sort of signifier and symbol of something for people. And I think that that moment in New York for me also was not—it also symbolized something that I haven't figured out yet, that I was a part of. So I'm trying to wrap all of that together and figure out what—what did that experience mean?

And it was, for me, a little bit about New York. The compression of New York. New York doesn't quite seem that way to me anymore. New York is bigger and different, but what do those blocks, you know below 23rd street, sometimes below 14th street—what was happening there? What was that spirit that I felt there that was still a little bit of the spirit that Andy was a part of and created there? What was so appealing to me, even though it was a sad and terrible time because of AIDS? But, I could still feel something that was related to Warhol, and I think that's why I want to be working here. And I tried—maybe that's why I wanted to preserve it also, like, that work that was being created then captured some of that spirit.

So, I think that's—I think that's what, ultimately, I want to do. Like, figure out why that was so important to me. What was that spirit? What was really the thing that I was so drawn to that I couldn't quite be a part of—I was a little bit too late, but I could still feel it.

ALEX FIALHO:  Great. Thank you for today.

PATRICK MOORE:  Yeah. Thank you. You were great.



How to Use This Collection

Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Patrick Moore, 2017 April 15. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.