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Willoughby Sharp

Last Name: 
Sharp
First Name: 
Willoughby

Willoughby Sharp (b. January 23, 1936, [New York City], d. December 17, 2008 [New York City]), the co-founder, with writer/filmmaker Liza Bear, of Avalanche magazine (1970-1976), is an internationally known artist, independent curator, gallerist, teacher, author, and telecom activist. Sharp began his media work in 1967 by shooting a small number of films in 8mm, Super 8mm, and 16mm including "Earth," (1968, Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) and "Place & Process," (1969, Collection: MoMA, New York). After these films, he started producing a prodigious body of video works in 1/2, 3/4 and 1-inch tape. These works included video sculpture, video installations, "Videoviews," (1970-1974), Videoperformances (1973-1977), cable television programs (1985-1986), and broadcast TV programs (2001-). In February 1969, at the invitation of Hans Haacke, he presented a three-part video installation, "Earthscopes," at Cooper Union, N.Y., which included the only showing of a video catalogue of the historic "Earth Art" exhibition that he had curated at the Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. In March 1969, Sharp created "Einstein's Eye," a closed-circuit b/w video sculpture exhibited at the Richard L. Feigen Gallery in Soho, N.Y. The following year, Sharp's film "Place and Process" was included in MoMA's "INFORMATION" exhibition curated by Kynaston McShine. Also in 1970, Sharp curated "Body Works," an exhibition of Video art with works by Vito Acconci, Terry Fox, Richard Serra, Keith Sonnier, Dennis Oppenheim and William Wegman which was presented at Tom Marioni's Museum of Conceptual Art, San Francisco, California. At the San Jose State TV studios in 1970, Sharp began the "Videoviews" series of videotaped dialogues with artists which he continued after he bought one of the first Sony 3400 Porta-Pac video recording systems in 1972. The "Videoviews" series consists of Sharp's dialogues with Bruce Nauman (1970), Joseph Beuys (1972), Vito Acconci (1973), Chris Burden (1973), Lowell Darling (1974), and Dennis Oppenheim (1974). More recently, working with ARTENGINE, N.Y., a collaborative video production/post-production company in partnership with Duff Schweninger, Mr. Sharp has produced an ongoing series of 30-minute documentary programs on Dennis Oppenheim (2001), Keith Sonnier (2002), Earle Brown (2002), and Morton Subotnick (2003). In 1976, under an NEA grant to Center for New Art Activities, Inc., he co-produced [with Liza Bear] "Five Video Pioneers: Vito Acconci, Richard Serra, Willoughby Sharp, Keith Sonnier, William Wegman (Collection: MoMA, N.Y.). That year he also represented the United States in the Venice Biennale. Shortly afterward, Sharp started to produce a series of international, multi-casting, pre-Internet projects which simultaneously interlaced information from computers, telefax, In September 1977, he participated in Send/Receive Satellite Network: Phase II, co-produced and directed by Keith Sonnier and Liza Bear in collaboration with a group of San Francisco and New York artists; this was the first trans-continental interactivesatellite work made by artists. His participation in Send/Receive in part led to Sharp's current preoccupation with global collaborative work through a series of interactive telecommunications and streaming transmissions. This ongoing series of projects honors the accomplishments of electrical geniuses Guglielmo Marconi (1981), Heinrich Hertz (1986) andNikola Tesla (2005-2006). Beginning in 1964 with "POP ART" at Columbia University, N.Y., Sharp independently curated numerous important exhibitions. Among others these include: "Robert Rauschenberg" (1964) Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany; "LIGHT, MOTION, SPACE" (1967) Walker Art Center; "KINETIC ENVIRONMENTS I AND II" (1967) Central Park, N.Y.; "AIR ART" (1968) Philadelphia and six other locations; "KINETICISM: SYSTEMS SCULPTURE IN ENVIRONMENTAL SITUATIONS" (1968) Mexico City; "EARTH ART" (1969) Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; "PLACE AND PROCESS" (1969) Edmonton, Canada; "PROJECTS: PIER 18" (1971) MoMA, N.Y.; "JOSEPH BEUYS" (1973) Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Inc., N.Y.; "VIDEOPERFORMANCE' (1974) 112 Greene Street Gallery, N.Y. Since 1969, Sharp has had more than 20 solo exhibitions at museums, and art galleries such as: Brown University; the University Art Museum, Berkeley, California; The Museum of Conceptual Art, San Francisco; CAYA, Buenos Aires, Argentina; the University of Iowa; the Ontario College of Art, Toronto; the University of California, Los Angeles; the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Pumps Gallery, Vancouver. His work has also been seen in many group shows in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. thing.net