Willoughby Sharp (1936–2008)

Artist, independent curator, and writer Willoughby Sharp died on December 17 of throat cancer, Artnet reports via Artinfo. Sharp was a pioneering video performance artist known for his cutting-edge and often shocking pieces that aroused extreme emotions in viewers. His work included films, video installations, video performances, and, later in his career, cable- and broadcast-television programs. He was also interested in promoting other artists, founding and publishing Avalanche magazine with Liza Bear from 1970 to 1976, which featured major European avant-garde artists participating in the New York art scene—most notably Joseph Beuys. He represented the US in the Venice Biennale in 1976, and in 1977, he and Bear produced with Keith Sonnier the first transcontinental satellite artwork—an interactive transmission that took place between a portable station on the Battery Park City landfill, New York, and Ames Research Center near San Francisco. Sharp taught at many universities across the US, both as faculty and as a visiting artist, and his video and film works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as well as many others.