Frederick Weston (1946–2020) was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Detroit, Michigan where he participated in the club scene before moving to New York City in the mid-1970s. He was a graduate of Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan, where he was instrumental in founding the Zeta Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha—the university’s first African American fraternity. He went on to study menswear design and marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. A self-taught, interdisciplinary artist, he worked in a variety of media, including collage, drawing, sculpture, photography, performance, and creative writing. Over the course of his time in New York, he developed a vast encyclopedic archive of images and ephemera related to fashion, the body, advertising, AIDS, race, and queer subjects.
Weston’s Estate is represented by Gordon Robichaux, New York, where he presented his first New York solo exhibition in 2019. In 2020, Ortuzar Projects, in collaboration with Gordon Robichaux, presented a forty-year survey of Weston’s work. His site-specific installation at the Ace Hotel gallery in New York was celebrated in the New York Times, and he received the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ Roy Lichtenstein Award. In 2021, Visual AIDS published Frederick Weston and Samuel R. Delany, a book dedicated to Weston’s work through a long form interview between Weston and Delany.
Weston’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions: Downtown 2021 (curated by Sam Gordon), La MaMa Galleria, New York; A Page from My Intimate Journal (Parts I and II), Gordon Robichaux, New York, and Parker Gallery, Los Angeles; Souls Grown Diaspora (curated by Sam Gordon), apexart, New York; Heaven and Hell, Tom of Finland Foundation, Los Angeles; Tag: Proposals on Queer Play and the Ways Forward (curated by Nayland Blake), Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; This Must Be the Place (curated by O.O. & M.M. and Miles Huston), 55 Walker New York; Inside, Out Here (curated by Eric Booker), La MaMa Galleria, New York; Art AIDS America, Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Found (curated by Avram Finkelstein), Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York; CUT HERE (with Matt Keegan and Siobhan Liddell), Gordon Robichaux, New York; Queer Artist Fellowship: Alternate Routes (curated by Osman Can Yerebakan), Leslie Lohman Project Space, New York; and Persons of Interest (curated by Sam Gordon), Bureau of General Services—Queer Division, New York.
He participated in numerous panels and presented his creative writing and poetry at Visual AIDS, “Queer Artists of Color in New York during the AIDS Epidemic,” College Art Association of America, 2019 Annual Conference; “Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic,” Smithsonian Archives of American Art Symposium, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; “Fag, Stag, or Drag?” in conversation with John Neff, Artists Space, New York; "Three Readings: Wayne Koestenbaum, Darinka Novitovic, and Frederick Weston,” Gordon Robichaux, New York. In 2017, an oral history with Weston conducted by Ted Kerr was published by the Smithsonian Archives of American Art for Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project.
Weston was a longstanding artist-member of Visual AIDS.
Profiles on Weston and his work have been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Artforum, the Brooklyn Rail, and Hauser & Wirth’s Ursula magazine.
Weston’s work is held in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.