Remembering art world figures who died in 2020


The past year has seen the passing of many outstanding individuals whose names have become part of world history. Each of them was a notable and important figure of our time, influencing the destinies of people and the course of history. And even if not all of them were remembered by their contemporaries exclusively for their good deeds, their names will remain in the memory of posterity.

Every year we suffer irreplaceable losses: beloved actors and actresses, singers, directors and composers, writers and athletes, politicians and public figures leave their lives. They delighted us with their performance on screens and theaters, they enthralled our ears with their voices, they won victories in sports arenas, they dominated the fate of the world in the political and diplomatic fields. Their names are forever etched in the country’s history.

March 2. Ulay, conceptual artist and co-author of Marina Abramovic’s performances, at age 76.

The German conceptual artist Frank Uwe Laysiepen, better known as Ulay, became famous in the mid-1970s as the collaborator and lover of the performance artist Marina Abramović. The pair met in 1974 and quickly began working together. Their performances, which were often provocative and dangerous, explored and illustrated the extremes of human relationships on both spiritual and bodily levels. Ulay and Abramovich parted ways in 1986, and two years later marked the end of their creative union with the famous performance Lovers: As part of it, they met to say goodbye in the middle of the Great Wall of China, having walked 2,500 kilometers from each end. After his parting with Abramovich, Ulai continued to make art and experimented with engaging the audience in his performances. He died at the age of 76 after a long battle with cancer.

March 9. Max von Sydow, star of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens’ and ‘Game of Thrones’, at age 90.

“Max is wonderful. You will see how in eternity he will remain one of the greatest actors of our time,” his compatriot, the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, said of von Sydow back in 1958. The actor played in 11 Bergman films, including The Seventh Seal, The Maiden’s Spring, The Face, Shame, and The Wolf Hour. By the late 1960s, his international fame made him popular with foreign directors as well. He starred with Woody Allen (“Hannah and His Sisters”), William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”), David Lynch (“Dune”), Steven Spielberg (“Minority Report”), Martin Scorsese (“Cursed Island”), and Lars von Trier (“The House That Jack Built”). Von Sydow was twice nominated for an Oscar and acted in films until the end of his life.

March 15. Genesis P. Orridge, industrialist creator and radical art star, at age 70

British Genesis P. Orridge (born Neil Andrew Megson) will go down in cultural history as one of the most spectacular and influential figures in experimental music and radical art. Having formed the art group COUM Transmissions in the early 1970s with Cosy Fanny Tutti, they quickly rose to scandalous fame with their brutal performances of sex, violence, pornography, and the occult.

Throbbing Gristle, a band that grew out of COUM, is considered the creator of the industrial music genre. It was replaced in 1981 by P. Orridge’s new band Psychic TV, which experimented with post-punk, asides, psychedelic, collage techniques, and sampling. In the 1990s, P. Orridge and his wife Lady Jaye’s main project was pandrogenia, the fusion into one spiritual whole through bodily modifications. The cause of the 70-year-old artist’s death was leukemia.



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