SHUSAKU ARAKAWA July 6,1936-May 18, 2010 / madeline gins
THIS CAUGHT MY EYE: " It's immoral", Ms. Gins said, "that people have to die". This was the closing line of an obituary that appeared in the NY Times today.
Ms.Gins was speaking about the passing of her husband, Shusaku Arakawa, the artist and neo-Dadaist. He was born in Japan, moved to New York at the age of 25. With his wife, Madeline Gins, both conceptual artists and designers, they explored mortality by creating buildings meant to stop aging and dying.
He died on Tuesday. Ms. Gins said, "This mortality thing is bad news." She now intends to strengthen her efforts to prove that, "aging can be outlawed".
She declined to give the cause of his death, but my belief is that it had something to do with his tongue being irrevocably stuck in his cheek.
They called their philosophy,"Reversible Destiny" and explored it in books, paintings, poems, and for those who would pay for it, architecture. A house on Long Island/ Lifespan Extending Villa, featured dozens of colors, sloped floors that sent one hurtling, and levels meant to induce the sensation of being in two places at once, windows at odd heights and no doors..no privacy. All of this was meant to keep the owner young.
Their work has been considered by some philosophers, critics, and architects as important in both an objective and subjective sense. But fun and strangeness have prevailed and they had a retrospective in 1997 at the Guggenheim to exhibit the infinite ways to stretch life. Arakawa said that Marcel Duchamp was his mentor.
As a further indication of their well thought out ideas, it should be mentioned here that in the 1990's they invested money with Bernie Madoff. They lost it all in the fraud. Perhaps dying is better than living forever in poverty.
RIP... Shusaku Arakawa