by Alex Katz

I’m in Ogden, Utah, in a Victorian carriage house. It’s clean and there are rugs on the floors. There is an excellent library and an excellent gym, one block away. We live on the top floor and I have a studio below. The studio is about 30 by 40 feet and is also soot free. The country around here is exhilarating. There are huge mountains to the east and flat farms on the west, which run into the Great Salt Lake. The farms are well irrigated, some by channels from the mountains. They are mostly truck farms, some dairy, some wheat, and some with pigs, sheep, or beef.
The last time I saw Frank, we ate at the Grand Ticino on Thompson Street and went to the Judson Church to see a play by Ruth Krauss. Frank had gotten the tickets in advance but we brought Vincent along and were one short. Frank put himself on the waiting list and met us inside. It was hot and sweaty in the theatre but there were some good lines. When we got out it was balmy and pleasant. We had some ice cream and went to his place for drinks. I don’t remember what we talked about. Could have been anything from Ruth White to the Pomodoro sculpture on his coffee table.
It was a pleasant end to a pleasant evening.
The late afternoon made long shadows at Lincolnville Beach. Edwin, with taped ribs, Gerry, Ada and myself were strangely manic waiting for the Greyhound bus to take us to the funeral.
At times Frank seemed to be a priest who got into a different business. Even on his 6th martini-second pack of cigarettes and while calling a friend, ‘a bag of shit’, and roaring off into the night. Frank’s business was being an active intellectual. He was out to improve our world whether we like it or not. Although I could question his judgements I found his reasoning difficult to resist. The frightening amount of energy he invested in our art and our lives often made me feel like a miser.
The elusive quality of Frank is his sense of style. To say he was interested in what was right and what was wrong wouldn’t make him different from a lot of people. Frank’ particular idea of what is right, is what negotiates with maximum vitality. Vitality being what emanates from the surface, manners and intent have no meaning.
Sneakers and suntans are the exotic wardrobe of the out of towner to a native New Yorker. There was more chaos, more cocktail parties and more telephone calls. Now our lives are more orderly but less interesting.