Arakawa — July 6, 1936 – May 18, 2010
It was 1991, and I was fresh from Japan, adrift in New York, and uncertain of my destiny. It was Madeline and Arakawa who found me (especially Madeline). They took me in, fed and nourished me with scraps of wisdom—and curry—from the kingdom of intellectual freedom in which they habitually dwelt.
They surrounded themselves with young minds. They fed us daily from a seemingly endless supply of insight and compassion … and stories. They respected our thoughts and gave them room to grow.
They listened. They were the kind of teachers who were inspiring in their roving intellectual activity and genuine passion for their ideas, who raged and fought with one another in the realm of ideas, and who were yet still always able to really listen, to learn and to love. In this, they as a team were rare and precious.
They loved life, each other, and their intellectual and emotional frontier deeply. And they shared this with all comers eloquently, inventively and well.
Arakawa at an exhibit at Ronald Feldman Gallery in 1991 featuring Containing Surface No. 3 (reproduced from the Kyoto Journal, No. 19, 1991).
Anger at mortality holds a special place in their shared world view. The thought of Arakawa having died is itself a kind of outrage, an insult, and a GREAT SADNESS. For Madeline, I cannot bear to imagine her feelings. May she soon and vigorously pick up the flame of their vision and sally forth in the face of death undiminished.
Bless them both for having lived.
Photo courtesy of Reversible Destiny Foundation