Happy birthday Robert Hughes

The Shock of the New by Robert Hughes by you.

Australian writer and art critic Robert Hughes turns 70 today. Congrats Robert, and thanks for The Fatal Shore (the history book on Australia) and The Shock of the New, a well-reputed modern art history book I only managed to be lukewarm about, when I read it some time in 2006. Too much attention for Cezanne (I’ve never taken to him, from my “dilettante” perspective), and Hughes fails to mention the influence of photography and illustrated newspapers on Impressionism.

To give you an idea of Hughes’s art criticism, here are his insights on Equivalent VIII, a work by Carl Andre:

“The essential difference between a sculpture like Andre‘s Equivalent VIII[1], 1978, and any that had existed before in the past is that Andre’s array of bricks depends not just partly, but entirely, on the museum for its context. A Rodin in a parking lot is still a misplaced Rodin; Andre’s bricks in the same place can only be a pile of bricks.”–The Shock of the New, Robert Hughes.

2 thoughts on “Happy birthday Robert Hughes

  1. lichanos

    Hughes thinks the adulation of Warhol is totally misguided – I admire and respect his contrarian view.

    In Crumb, the documentary about R. Crumb, there is a brief interview with Hughes, who refers to Crumb as today’s Brueghel, which Crumb, of course, had fun with later…


    But the really funny part comes after the film goes through Crumb’s sexual obsessions, his imagery of masturbation, weird sexual couplings, perverted imaginings and so on, and Hughes says on-camera, “He doesn’t really do those things…does he?! ”

    It’s clear to us, the viewers, that he does! I guess Robert thought he was just kidding.

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