Robert Hughes

ROBERT HUGHES

Dates: 1938-

Nationality: Australian

Robert Studley Forrest Hughes, AO, is an Australian-born art critic, writer and television documentary maker who has resided in New York since 1970. Hughes left Australia for Europe in 1964, living for a time in Italy before settling in London, England (1965) where he wrote for The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and The Observer, among others, and contributed to the London version of Oz. In 1970 he obtained the position of art critic for TIME magazine and he moved to New York. He quickly established himself in the United States as an influential art critic.

In 1975 he and Don Brady provided the narration for the film Protected, a documentary showing what life was like for Indigenous Australians on Palm Island. Hughes and Harold Hayes were recruited in 1978 to anchor the new ABC News (US) newsmagazine 20/20. His only broadcast, on June 6, 1978, proved so disastrous that, less than a week later, ABC News president Roone Arledge dumped Hughes and Hayes, replacing them with veteran TV host Hugh Downs. In 1980, the BBC broadcast The Shock Of The New, Hughes’s television series on the development of modern art since the Impressionists. It was accompanied by a book of the same name; its combination of insight, wit and accessibility are still widely praised. In 1987, The Fatal Shore, Hughes’s study of the British penal colonies and early European settlement of Australia, became an international best-seller.

During the 1990s, Hughes was a prominent supporter of the Australian Republican Movement. Hughes provided commentary and highlights on the work of artist Robert Crumb throughout the 1994 film “Crumb”, calling Crumb “the American Breughel.” His 1997 television series American Visions reviewed the history of American art since the Revolution. He was again dismissive of much recent art; this time, sculptor Jeff Koons was subjected to scathing criticism. Australia: Beyond the Fatal Shore (2000) was a series musing on modern Australia and Hughes’s relationship with it. Hughes’s 2002 documentary on the painter Francisco Goya – Goya: Crazy Like a Genius—was broadcast on the first night of the BBC’s domestic digital service. Hughes created a one hour update to The Shock of the New. Titled The New Shock of the New, the program aired first in 2004. Hughes published the first volume of his memoirs, Things I Didn’t Know, in 2006.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Robert Hughes (critic)’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 October 2010, 10:55 UTC, <en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Robert_Hughes_(critic)&oldid=391418244>

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