A Tribute to Bob Raymond (April 21, 1952 - February 27, 2012)

A Tribute to Bob Raymond (April 21, 1952 - February 27, 2012)

published April 9, 2012

Mobius is deeply saddened and mourns the loss of our beloved friend and colleague, Bob Raymond.  Bob died on February 27th after a short illness.  He was the backbone of Mobius and a mainstay of the Mobius Artists Group for nearly thirty years. An accomplished artist, a supportive, loving friend, an unselfish, generous person;  an inspiration to all who knew him for his kindness, insight, professionalism, honesty, sincerity, integrity and abilities; who often put his needs second to those of others he wanted to help.

Bob personified the ethos of Mobius through his dedication and work. He embodied and held the conscience of Mobius, defining new modes as the organization grew and changed, guiding us through difficult terrains. He was a can-do, problem solver in all realms, whose presence and skill always led us forward. He was the real deal, without an ounce of pretense. Those who knew him will agree that these words are not hyperbole.

It was through his presence, which I also mean quite literally, spent witnessing and quietly documenting the work of the Mobius Artists Group and its guest artists throughout the years, where his impact is most evident. Without intending to at first,  but through the consistency of his commitment and purpose,  Bob amassed an enormous body of work about Mobius. Without exaggeration, here are some numbers: he photographed thousands of artists over an almost thirty-year period resulting in an archive of over 15,000 35mm slides and 10,000 digital images. This was done by coming to nearly every single event that has ever happened at Mobius as well as countless off-site events he attended and photographed. And there he was accompanied by Marilyn Arsem, his wife and the founder of Mobius, who survives him.

Only recently has that work begun to be brought to light, but in time its value will grow. At Mobius, we have appreciated it for a long time, for we know that its quality has helped define Mobius and been instrumental in our success. To put it in a larger perspective, I will also say this: now that the archives of alternative arts organizations have taken on significant importance in artistic, historical provenance, Bob's Mobius photos probably constitute the largest single body of documentation created by one person, committed to one alternative arts organization, in existence.

Bob was modest, almost to a fault, about his accomplishments. But they will emerge now that we must acknowledge his departure. We will honor and celebrate Bob and carry out our work the way he would want us to. On Saturday, April 21st we will also have a celebration of his life and work. More details about this event will emerge soon.

Life humbles and seasons us, and ultimately leaves us. Occasionally we are offered moments of beauty, grace,  and human dignity to experience, enact, and share. Bob reminds us of this in what he has left behind, and in all the ways he has given to us and to so many people; that he will always be remembered with all the love and care he gave, that we can also share and give back  now, in his lasting memory and image.

--Jed Speare, Director
and member, Mobius Artists Group
February 29, 2012

* Added March 8, 2012 *

Robert A. Raymond, an accomplished photographer and videographer who documented the work of literally thousands of artists from around the world, died on Monday, February 27, 2012, after a short illness.  He was 59 years old.

Born and raised in the French-Canadian community of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Bob earned an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Rhode Island and later completed work for a master's degree in communication theory at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst.

Bob was an early advocate of public access television.  Soon after college, he worked as Assistant Director at the Boston Film/Video Foundation.  He went on to work in the television industry for thirty years, serving as a well-respected engineering manager and a regional field producer.  

But it was his photography for which Bob was most admired and will be long remembered. His work constitutes a vast archive of performance in Boston, much of it focused on the work created by Boston's Mobius Artists Group, of which he was a member for more than thirty years. His photographs of events at Mobius alone totaled more than 15,000 35-mm slides and 10,000 digital images. Exhibitions of his photographs have been shown at galleries both here and abroad, and published internationally in artist books and periodicals.  

When not behind his camera, Bob could be found in his Jamaica Plain kitchen, where he demonstrated artistic skills of an entirely different manner -- as a chef and lover of great food.  Bob's time in the kitchen went beyond the ingredient list to researching and understanding the history and culture of the foods he prepared.

Surviving are his wife, the performance artist and teacher Marilyn Arsem, and a large extended family including cousins and their children in Florida, Rhode Island and Quebec, sisters- and brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews, the many artists with whom he collaborated over the past three decades, and especially the members of the Mobius Artists Group.

To see Bob's work and read more personal tributes, visit the Mobius website,  Here you'll also find details of a gathering in celebration of Bob's life planned for April 21st, which will include an exhibition of his photos. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory can be made to Mobius, Inc., 55 Norfolk Street, Cambridge, MA 02139.  

* Added April 5, 2012 *

Memorial gathering and exhibition opening in honor of Bob Raymond

The Mobius Artists Group invites our friends, supporters, and the Boston and international arts communities to a memorial gathering and exhibition opening in honor of the late Bob Raymond, who passed away in late February of this year.  The memorial gathering will be from 2-5 pm with homemade food and refreshments, acknowledging Bob’s belief that sharing food in this way brought people together.  Family members and colleagues will speak about Bob, and we invite others to also share their memories of him.  At 5 pm, the event will segue with music performed by the Mobius Quartet (James Coleman, Derek Hoffend, Tom Plsek, Jed Speare) into the opening of the exhibition of some of Bob Raymond’s photographs entitled; “this moment: missives from another world and other works.”  These events will take place at Studio Soto, located in the Fort Point area of Boston at 10 Channel Center Street.

Studio Soto, 10 Channel Center St., Boston, MA, USA

April 21, 2012:

  • 2-5pm memorial gathering;
  • 5-7pm opening reception,for “this moment: missives from another world and other works” of Bob Raymond

this moment: missives from another world and other works will be on view from Saturday April 21st through Saturday, May 5th. Gallery hours will be Thursday and Friday, 4 – 7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 1- 5pm.

For more information, contact Mobius’ Director, Jed Speare at 617-945-9481 or 617-426-7686.

* Added April 9, 2012 *

Bob's Website:

For a look at Bob Raymond’s website and a slideshow of this moment: missives from another world, please visit:



by Reyes (not verified) | Wed, 2012-02-29 19:39


Bob was a kind man, a humble man, a funny man, and a terrific neighbor. Indeed, for many, Bob embodied those moments of beauty, grace and dignity that life offers ocassionally.
i will remember him.


by John G. Boehme (not verified) | Wed, 2012-02-29 21:24


I am filled with sorry for our loss
and pass only my most sincere love to all those who had the opportunity to spend any time at all with a truly wonderful person BOB RAYMOND


by Shaari (not verified) | Wed, 2012-02-29 23:32

such a lovely, lovely man

Rest In Peace, Bob Raymond.

Our lovely neighbor. A lover of kitties, super local wild rasberries (on the block in various places), and a very fine photographer. One half of a dear, dear pair. You will be missed.

Thoughts and prayers and comforting love to Marilyn. We are with you, both. xoxo


by Blaise A. Freeman (not verified) | Thu, 2012-03-01 00:10

he will be remembered

Amazing people like Bob don't come along often. I'm trying to do the math on how many lives Bob's art & life has touched, it's truly mind-boggling.


by Autumn (not verified) | Thu, 2012-03-01 01:45

Bob Raymond

I was so saddened today to receive the news of Bob's passing. He was such a wonderful, solid and kind presence in my little neighborhood where he will be greatly missed.

Warm thoughts, prayers and much love to Marilyn.


by Anonymous (not verified) | Fri, 2012-03-02 11:46

Mr Raymond impressed so many

Mr Raymond impressed so many of the providers who cared for him at Beth Israel (of which I was one) with his strength, courage and extreme dignity. He was too modest to share with me his many achievements, some of which I have come to know by reading this obituary. His passing is a loss to all of us.


by Michael Lapointe (not verified) | Sat, 2012-03-03 21:04

Bob Raymond

A mutual friend told me about Bob's passing this morning. I knew Bob in High School, I lived with him for several years and we also had the same job for those years. I once emailed Bob to see if the website Flickr was a good place to put my pictures. He told me that it was. He gave trusted advice, and as always, he was right.

One small memory was coming home from working security in college residence halls at 3 in the morning and watching TV. Channel 5, which had just started a 24 broadcast, was our only choice. We would sit on the porch in the summer, and have a gin and tonic and unwind in front of the new frontier of expanded programming. We'd do this for an hour or so before calling it a night. I remember seeing Wendy O Williams, of the Plasmatics, on live television, in that very way. Other nights a group of us from work would go to to the local bowling alley which opened at that strange hour to be available for the local fishermen to have coffee or breakfast. We became regulars after a while.

I also remember when he bought a portable sound recorder that was pretty state of the art. He recorded the ocean, the wind, birds, cars, everything! He chased and studied sound like a Graduate Student in search of a degree. Somewhere I have a picture of him, headphones on, sitting on the rocks by the ocean capturing sounds. He seemed so happy in the act of discovery.

Three very small, sweet moments of time spent with Bob.

Over they years I would send a random email just to say hello and wish he and his wife good times and sometimes holiday greetings. It seemed the thing to do.

Bob was smart, giving, compassionate and on a quest through life. Anyone who shared that path with him, for anytime, knows the joy that it was.

My deepest, heart-felt condolences to his wife and friends. Though I haven't seen him in decades his passing has touched me and has left a void that can only be salved by a thousand joyous memories.

I will miss you, old friend.


by Nita Sturiale (not verified) | Sun, 2012-03-04 10:27

Thank you Bob

Sending our deep sympathies for everyone influenced by Bob's light and love. I haven't been in touch with the Mobius family in the past several years as i've been preoccupied with my keeping track of my own but my thoughts are always with you and my deep respect for you all is ever-strong. I'll always remember the seriousness and professionalism that Bob put into documenting a student performance show I was in when i was an undergraduate in SIM in 1989 (or something like that). He took us as seriously as the more seasoned performers. That feeling of being fully respected has always stayed with me. Thank you Bob for always sitting in the front row. I never told you that in person.


by Kate (not verified) | Sun, 2012-03-04 11:46

My heartfelt condolences to

My heartfelt condolences to Marilyn and all of Bob's family. And to Mobius, a huge inspiration to me while at MassArt. You will be missed, Bob.


by Gina Mullen (not verified) | Mon, 2012-03-05 20:45

Missing Bob Raymond

Knowing Bob and Marilyn is a great treasure in my life that will never show rust. How do you say thank you for all the help and moments of encouragement? Bob lives on in all of us who had the great good fortune to know him.


by Mary Curtin (not verified) | Tue, 2012-03-06 10:00

Bob Raymond -- extraordinary guy!

Gosh -- I'm stunned! What a terrific person, and wonderful artist. Patient, kind, with lots of smiles and eye twinkles and chuckles. Boston just won't be the same w/o him. Happy trails, Bob! Keep on chuckling in where ever lies ahead for all of us! And thank you for always being so great to be around!


by Anonymous (not verified) | Tue, 2012-03-06 10:43

An honor to care for

It was an honor to care for Bob at the end of his life - he was gracious to the core, and an inspiration even to those of us who knew him only for a few short months.


by Anonymous (not verified) | Tue, 2012-03-06 11:14

Being with Bob

Marilyn had asked me to help with the small things Bob needed during the last month or so. So I found myself by his side at their home and later every Tuesday in the hospital. It may seem odd to say but I looked forward to any amount of time that I could be with Bob. The scope of his keen intellect and his desire to be laughing or talking was incredibly inspiring. Everyone in the hospital knew him and respected him.

Witnessing his final time on earth has left me in complete awe of his courage, kindness, concern for others, his love for Marilyn and the feeling that he will still be present at Mobius.

Thank you Marilyn and Bob for the honor of this time. I have learned so much from both of you


by Anonymous (not verified) | Tue, 2012-03-06 11:15

Being with Bob

Marilyn had asked me to help with the small things Bob needed during the last month or so. So I found myself by his side at their home and later every Tuesday in the hospital. It may seem odd to say but I looked forward to any amount of time that I could be with Bob. The scope of his keen intellect and his desire to be laughing or talking was incredibly inspiring. Everyone in the hospital knew him and respected him.

Witnessing his final time on earth has left me in complete awe of his courage, kindness, concern for others, his love for Marilyn and the feeling that he will still be present at Mobius.

Thank you Marilyn and Bob for the honor of this time. I have learned so much from both of you


by Caroline (not verified) | Sat, 2012-03-24 13:05

I'm so sorry to hear about

I'm so sorry to hear about Bob...I can't even use the past tense since he is still so in the present. My thoughts are with all of you. The kindness and generosity, the amazing photographic eye, a stellar stunning person. I am so sorry..
I was thinking of him too, because last week was Armory week, and he was at Fountain last year! Luckily his wonderful photos will not only preserve amazing moments but continue to amaze new viewers to his legacy.


by Harris Barron (not verified) | Tue, 2012-04-03 09:24

Bob Raymond, 2012: Having

Bob Raymond, 2012:

Having done performanceworks during the '70s, at the old Helen Shlien Gallery, I was there to meet Bob when Mobius took over that Congress Street space, and then proceeded to make that site famous by their continued works there.

Here at 85 ans, having spent my life in the arts, I've not had the pleasure to meet lots of people quite as selfless, as giving, and humanistic as Bob Raymond.

In Bob Raymond, you found the epitome of gentleness and grace, a genuine human being who radiated the wholeness of implicit trust, in whose company you experienced the wholesome spirit of positiveness. So much of Bob Raymond's work was making sure that others had the opportunities available to realize their own.

In the present culture—so naked in the loudness of its message that it's OK to "get yours," no matter what; of selfishness so callous that greed is seen as "smart" and insures "winning;" and stealing from others is so widespread it has to be euphemised as "appropriation"—Bob Raymond quietly stood his ground to stand for ethical generosity.

Was it the Romans who observed that the good die young?

Good night, and sleep well, Bob.

Harris Barron


by Jeff de Castro (not verified) | Tue, 2012-04-03 09:28


Jed describes quite well Bob Raymond's kind and wise presence at Mobius, the presence I remember at every event I ever participated in. Bob's absence is harder to describe. I can't. My heart goes out to Marilyn in particular and his family, but also to the entire Mobius Community who knew him.

Jeff de Castro


by Sarah (not verified) | Wed, 2012-04-25 21:01

A lifetime

A lifetime ago I worked with Bob everyday and depended on his kind and stabilizing presence. We had youth on our side then, but Bob had a maturity and presence that made him a natural leader and manager and a good friend to all.
I'm so sorry to have missed the memorial last week. He lived a life truly worth celebrating.


by Tom Wylie (not verified) | Fri, 2012-04-27 20:11

Joyful memories

Wow, due to travel and different schedules I just learned of Bob's passing - I am still in shock. I knew Bob well from 1977 to 1989; we were first "office mates" and graduate assistants @UMASS Amherst in the Communications Studies program. Later, we were house mates sharing the first floor of 1 West St, in Hadley, MA - and still later when he was Asst Dir. and I Director at BF/VF from 1980-84. All that has been stated about him is so accurate - he had timeless energy for anyone wanting to do their work, create their ideas and vision - and an inner peace and sense of direction that is so rare in anyone. I had the great joy to observe when he met Marylin - and he was immediately smitten! The love and care between then was a joy to behold - the wonder they shared exceptional!
These are memoires I will carry with me always; of and for this most wonderful person.


by Paul Sarapas (not verified) | Sat, 2012-04-28 07:36

saddened to just be hearing about this

It was a lifetime ago as Tom Wylie said, that I worked with Bob at BF/VF, both in our Brighton Ave HQ and later on down on Boylston Street. He knew his craft well, did a ridiculous amount of work hours to help the place grow and through the difficult move, was instrumental in getting us equipment and building facilities that supported both artists and the education program. Bob was highly respected and appreciated by all. My condolences to his wife and family, rest in peace.


by brandon (not verified) | Sat, 2012-06-02 20:48

Somehow missed this, so sad to hear.

Bob was an amazing guy, and an inspiring part of my early Boston days. We worked together on an NEA grant that would have made his digital archive the backbone of the *first* online distance learning platform for graduate level performance art. We made it through the first few cuts but the project was ultimately deemed a bit too big for our little group to manage. Heady days all the same. And an amazing experience for an early 20s know-nothing trying to figure out what the hell to do with himself. I learned a lot from Bob in those days. The world lost a good one. My condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace, Bob.


by Anonymous (not verified) | Tue, 2012-11-27 10:36

Bob, I miss you.



by Anonymous (not verified) | Sun, 2013-04-21 10:05

thinking of you

on your birthday...
missing you.


by Carol J. Anthony (not verified) | Mon, 2013-06-03 21:52

Remembering Bob - Late

Looking to update my CV, I scanned the Mobius website to learn that Bob passed away. I know it is late to be finding this out (over 1 year), but I didn't know until just now. And, what is "time," anyway? I hope I can speak for all former Mobius performance artists that relocated from the Boston area and haven't heard this news...

Bob was a lovely man with a strong presence at Mobius. He seemed to live there. Every time I was there, so was Bob. He was making sure things went smoothly for all who either worked there or performed there. He was a real joy to be around in his quiet, self-less way. He moved from room to room, tall, handsome, and alert. I thank you, Bob, for all you did for me. I am happy you were married to Marilyn - you were a good fit, and I remember and enjoyed seeing the two of you together. In the scenario of 'life goes on' we think of the people we knew as always being in that place, in the image of our minds, just as we remember. I will forever think of you, Bob, in relation to the great performance space that you helped to create for so many artists. Your energy lives on in all of us.
- Carol Anthony


by ADerek Mulligannonymous (not verified) | Sun, 2015-02-01 12:53

Al though I only knew Bob for

Al though I only knew Bob for a few years I quickly regarded him as a friend worthy of my respect. It is with sadness today that I learn of his passing. I have thought constantly of Bob and all the other Mobius family I knew over the last 25 years and always cherish what I gained by knowing them.

still free, thanks,
Derek Mulligan