Passionate, gregarious, and larger-than-life, TiRock Moore could not have been born of any place other than New Orleans. Memories here are long; allegiances are as ideological as they are familial. For Moore, a daughter of the South and the Civil Rights era, a child and still-denizen of the French Quarter and the arts, and a pioneer of LGBTQ rights who has never lived above the Mason-Dixon line, white privilege and the racism it engenders has always been a highly visible, salient, and uncomfortable reality.
As one of the first students at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) in the 1970s, Moore began to envision for herself a creative life. Transported by Judith Jamison’s groundbreaking performances in Revelations and Cry for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Moore initially pursued dance as her medium but eventually detoured from dance to dentistry before landing on her ultimate life’s work. Later, Moore’s activism in the '80s and '90s indelibly informed her focus and second-career passion and intensity for exploring what is for many the most recalcitrant of American vices: hatred based on race.
Emerging in 2014 with protest works created, in part, in response to the devastating, lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina, Moore renamed herself in homage to colorful and controversial twentieth-century painter Noel Rockmore, a New Yorker turned New Orleanian who, like Moore, had been the child of artists. Moore’s self-identification (petit or ‘tit in local parlance) with the mercurial Rockmore as a kind of spiritual protégé positions her within both local history and artistic traditions. Yet there is nothing small about Moore’s driving vision and ambition for her work, which focuses on dismantling the structures that support racism. This history is as much hers as it is ours; indeed, it is a distinctly American narrative Moore seeks to unravel through her work.