Carl Was Lucky To Have A Friend Like Frank

Thinking of Frank Stella on the weekend of his death, I kept coming back to the scramble to get Carl Andre out of Rikers after he’d been arrested for the death of his wife.

One criminal attorney, Gerry Rosen, had met with Andre at Rikers, then headed back into the city to piece together the $250,000 needed to get him out before nightfall. Paula Cooper and another art attorney, Jerry Ordover, who’d also handled Andre’s divorce, scrambled, too. It was Ordover who thought to ask Frank Stella, who had been one of Andre’s oldest and closest friends.

After Rosen brought Andre checks to sign, and sorted through the phone messages his wife had written down for him, he spoke with Cooper, who thanked him and said they were going with another attorney: Ordover. Cooper, Ordover, and Lawrence Wiener drove a certified check from Stella to Rikers, where they spent hours waiting for his release.

Re-reading this incident in Robert Katz’s book, Naked By The Window, I had not realized that this ride back to Manhattan was where Wiener had asked, “Do you know what happened?” and when Andre said no, that was it. Cooper is the last member of Andre’s reverse SWAT team still with us; I hope someone will ask her about it.

I also did not realize that the most substantive offer of help Rosen had received while visiting Andre at Rikers was an immediate offer of $100,000 and a referral to an art lender—from Andrew Crispo.

Previously, related: Speak, Muse
Wiping The Floor