Madeline Gins (1941-2014)

Madeline Gins, a poet, architect, and long-time collaborator with artist Arakawa, died this morning. She was 72. The cause of death was cancer.

Gins lived all her life in New York, much of it with Arakawa on a loft on Houston Street. She graduated from Barnard College (1962), where she studied physics and Oriental philosophy. She was also a graduate of the High School of Music and Art. Her first book, a work of conceptual fiction, was Word Rain (1969). She went on to publish several other books of poetry, including What the President Must Say and Do (pdf) and her magnum opus, Helen Keller or Arakawa. With Arakawa, she created the masterpiece The Mechanism of Meaning, a philosophical investigation of the relation of words to meaning. They also published two other works of philosophical and architectural speculation: Architectural Body and Making Dying Illegal

Gins met Arakawa in 1963. Arakawa died in 2010, at the age of 73. Together, they designed and built residences and parks: Site of Reversible Destiny-Yoro Park (1993-5; Gifu Prefecture, Japan), The Bioscleave House (2007; East Hampton, NY), The Reversible Destiny Lofts–Mitaka (2005; Mitaka Japan), and Gins's last work, the Biotopological Scale-Juggling Escalator for Dover Street Market in New York (December 2013). Their architectural projects formed the basis of the 1997 exhibition "Arakawa + Gins: Reversible Destiny" at the Guggenheim Museum SoHo. In 1987, they founded what was to become the Reversible Destiny Foundation.

LINEbreak reading and interview with Charles Bernstein: MP3
Reversible Destiny site (links to books and work)
Gins PennSound page 
Inflexions issue on Arakawa/Gins
"What Happens When the Artist Drops Away? The Legacy of Arakawa and Gins," my essay at Hyperallergic.

The New York Times
McKenzie Wark on Ginz 

Selected Books:

  • Making Dying Illegal (in collaboration with Arakawa). New York: Roof Books, 2006)
  • Architectural Body (in collaboration with Arakawa).  Tuscaloosa:  University of Alabama Press, 2002.
  • Reversible Destiny: We Have Decided Not to Die (Guggenheim Catalog) (in collaboration with Arakawa).  New York: Abrams, Inc., 1997
  • Helen Keller or Arakawa.  Santa Fe:  Burning Books with East/West Cultural Studies, 1994.
  • To Not To Die (in collaboration with Arakawa).  Paris:  Editions de la Différence, 1987.
  • What the President Will Say and Do!!  New York:  Station Hill Press, 1984
  • The Mechanism of Meaning (in collaboration with Arakawa) (introduction by Lawrence Alloway).  Munich:  Bruckmann, 1971.  New York:  Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1979 (2nd edition).  New York:  Abbeville Press, 1989 (3rd edition)
  • Word Rain (or A Discursive Introduction to the Philosophical Investigation of G,R,E,T,A, G,A,R,B,O, It Says).  New York: Grossman/Viking, 1969.