Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sharpville, a website in memory of Willoughby Sharp

Willoughby Sharp passed away early in the morning on Wednesday, December 17, 2008, at St. Rose's Home in New York's Lower East Side, after a long battle with throat cancer. He is the co-founder, with writer/filmmaker Liza Bear, of Avalanche magazine (1970-1976), and is an internationally known artist, independent curator, gallerist, teacher, author, and telecom activist. Other numerous accomplishments can be found in his Wikipedia biography. He is survived by his longtime partner Pamela Seymour Smith and by our fond collective memories.

Sharpville is a website started earlier this year as "a meeting place for friends and lovers of Willoughby Sharp". It is open to participation by all: to view or add photos and videos, to participate in the discussion forum or chat room, to share tall tales and innumerable stories, to announce events. The photo above (from 1985) and the video below (from the 2007 retrospective exhibition at Mitchell Algus Gallery) are both taken from the site.

WILLOUGHBY SHARP -- 1936 - 2008 -- R.I.P.

My own comment on the Sharpville forum:

At this sad moment, my heartfelt condolences go out to Pamela. We all valued Willoughby's wit, his anarchic, iconoclastic energy, his unforgettable presence, his unique contributions to art publishing, curating, teaching, and art activism in general. He was one of a kind. But it was Pamela who devoted herself to him, fully and selflessly, particularly during the last difficult years. There are not many who are capable of being so generous in their attention and concern. I applaud her. I am in awe of her commitment.

I am also very happy that this site exists. As an ongoing project - open ended, democratic, idiosyncratic and quite personal - it is a fitting testimony to the aesthetics and the priorities that Willoughby always advanced. I'm sure he is looking down in approval, even though he would undoubtedly want to tinker with it a bit.


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