Frank, Larry 1926-
FRANK, Larry 1926-
Born May 6, 1926, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Lawrence P., Sr. (a stockbroker) and Julliette (Guggenheim) Frank; married Alyce Kahn; children: Ross, Melissa, Chad. Education: Attended University of California—Los Angeles, 1944-45, and University of California—Berkeley, 1946-49. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Collecting North American Indian art, New Mexico Spanish colonial art, books, folk art, toys, and religious art.
Home—P.O. Box 290, Arroyo Hondo, NM 87513; fax 505-776-8539. E-mail—[email protected]
Ralph Emerson Twitchell Award, Historical Society of New Mexico, 2001.
Historic Pottery of the Pueblo Indians, New York Graphic Society (Boston, MA), 1974.
Indian Silver Jewelry of the Southwest, New York Graphic Society (Boston, MA), 1978.
New Kingdom of the Saints, Red Crane Books (Santa Fe, NM), 1994.
Train Stops (short stories), Sunstone Press (Santa Fe, NM), 1998.
(With Skip Miller and Michael O'Shaughnessy) A Land So Remote: Religious Art of New Mexico, Red Crane Books (Santa Fe, NM), 2001.
Fragments of a Mask (novel), Sunstone Press (Santa Fe, NM), 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Larry Frank has had a life-long fascination with art, especially with the art he found around his chosen home setting of New Mexico. He eventually turned his avocation of collecting Native American and Spanish colonial art pieces into a business. After many years of collecting and selling, he used the knowledge and appreciation that he had gained from his endeavors to produce a highly praised, three-volume book of sensitive descriptions and beautiful photographs of the art that has filled his life.
A Land So Remote: Religious Art of New Mexico encompasses a historical overview of works of art that were created between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries by people living in New Mexico. Although the three-volume work could stand alone on the fine collection of photographs, it is the essays that Frank provides, not only describing each piece but also delineating how each was used, that marks this work as something exceptional. It has been referred to as one of the most comprehensive studies ever produced of artifacts found in New Mexico.
Frank's work was supplemented by the authority of Skip Miller, curator and director of the Taos Historic Museum, and the artistry of Michael O'Shaughnessy's photography. Included in the over 800 photographs in this collection are pictures of some of the most rare objects found in nine different museums and in several private collections. Frank's essays accompany the photographs, providing valued information and piquing the interest of the reader. His essays underline the growth of religious art as it was used to help bolster the confidence and patience of the people who faced the challenges during the early centuries of New Mexico history, a time filled with daily hardships of living in a harsh land and a constant fear of war with Native Americans.
Many of the artifacts are of santos, images of saints that were created by descendents of Spanish people, who made them without the blessing of their church. Ruminator Review contributor Margaret Todd Maitland described these images as providing "the focus for the hopes and anxieties of daily life" for the farmers and ranchers. The images and the influence that they held on the people were not always approved by the church. There was, as Maitland reflected from Frank's writing, a "perennial conflict between the authority of organized religion and the unruly energies of spiritual need" of the people. The church officials often tried to destroy the image of the santos and even tried to ban the artists from making them. " A Land So Remote, " wrote Maitland, "offers hundreds of images whose emotional power seems intensified by the simplicity and directness of their manufacture."
The third volume of this set focuses on wooden objects, such as tools, furniture, and toys, demonstrating the connection between the settlers and the Native American culture in New Mexico. Library Journal contributor Sylvia Andrews explained, the wooden objects are "prime examples of cultural transference" between the two groups. Andrews also concluded her review by stating that A Land So Remote "makes a major contribution to the field."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bulletin (Las Cruces, NM), December 2, 1999, Gwendolyn Mintz and Cynthia Robertson, review of Train Stops, p. 10.
Library Journal, November 1, 2001, Sylvia Andrews, review of A Land So Remote: Religious Art of New Mexico, p. 88.
Ruminator Review, winter 2001-2002, Margaret Todd Maitland, "Santos," review of A Land So Remote, p. 9.