The New York Times’s Margalit Fox describes the life and career of the conceptual artist who died at 72:
Mr. Sharp, the Ivy League-educated scion of one of New York’s most socially prominent families, who in the 1960s and afterward was on the cutting edge of the American avant-garde as a performer, producer, writer, publisher, curator, video artist and much else, died on Dec. 17 in Manhattan. He was 72 and lived in Brooklyn.
The cause was cancer, his wife, Pamela Seymour Smith Sharp, said.
A central figure in conceptual and performance art back when those forms were new and daring, Mr. Sharp was concerned with making art that was as much for the mind as it was for the eye. Along with artists like Chris Burden and Nam June Paik, Mr. Sharp helped expand the very idea of what constituted a work of art.
Mr. Sharp was also known as the publisher of Avalanche, a widely respected, handsomely produced art magazine he founded with the writer and filmmaker Liza Béar. Published for just 13 issues between 1970 and 1976, Avalanche featured in-depth interviews with many rising contemporary artists of the day, among them Mr. Burden, William Wegman and Joseph Beuys, the charismatic German artist of whom Mr. Sharp was an early champion.
As a curator, Mr. Sharp attracted international attention with “Earth Art,” a 1969 exhibition at Cornell University. Groundbreaking in every sense of the term, the exhibition featured site-specific installations — by Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, Hans Haacke and others — that were hewn, molded or otherwise created from the land itself. Mr. Sharp also ran the Willoughby Sharp Gallery, on Spring Street in SoHo, from 1988 to 2004.
Mr. Sharp’s film and video works are in the collections of major museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In 1976 he represented the United States at the Venice Biennale.
Willoughby Sharp, 72, Versatile Avant-Gardist, Is Dead (The New York Times)
The Associated Press reported the sculptor’s death at 70 earlier this week. Here’s a brief description of his work:
In Washington, Mr. Graham’s bronze sculptures mark the Roosevelt memorial, where bronze panels symbolize 54 social programs initiated during the New Deal. Mr. Graham also created the life-size bronze figure of Roosevelt in his wheelchair at the entrance to the memorial.
At the northeast corner of Central Park in Harlem, his Duke Ellington Memorial stands 30 feet high, with three columns topped by the Muses holding up an 8-foot figure of the musician next to a piano.
Mr. Graham’s 18-foot monument to Charlie Parker, depicting Parker’s head above the words “Bird Lives,” is in Kansas City, Mo. And in Detroit, his Joe Louis Memorial honors the boxer with a 24-foot bronze monument in the shape of a massive fist and forearm suspended from a pyramid structure.
Mr. Graham also designed a number of prominent works in Los Angeles, including the Great Bronze Doors on the southeast side of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, an intricate imagery-filled project that took almost five years to complete. Another work in Los Angeles, “Olympic Gateway,” consists of the headless figures of a musclebound man and a woman. It stands at entry to the Memorial Coliseum, where the 1984 Olympics were held.
Robert Graham, a Sculptor of Monuments in Bronze, Dies at 70 (Associated Press)
After three years in a coma, Manjit Bawa died at the age of 67 in Delhi, India. He was a member of India’s pioneering generation of modern artists:
Bawa studied at the School of Art in New Delhi and worked as a silkscreen painter in Britain, where he also studied between 1964 and 1971.
Often using animal imagery — tigers and lambs sharing the same space — Bawa sought to convey the message that people could coexist with animals in nature, said art critic Ena Puri, who wrote a biography of Bawa.
His canvases were distinguished by their colors — the ochre of sunflowers, the green of paddy fields, the red of the sun and the blue of the mountain sky, she said.
“He was an icon, a person who was completely head and shoulders above his contemporaries,” Puri said.
Indian Painter Manjit Bawa Dies at Age 67 (Associated Press)