Tuesday, August 7, 2012

vale robert hughes....

I've just learned of the passing of one of Australia's finest...

Art critic, writer, TV documentary maker

Hughes' contribution to Australian culture cannot be overstated - he helped our nation overcome the 'cultural cringe' and allowed us to emerge from the spectre of Europe so that we could see where we were situated both geographically and imaginatively in the world. 

I loved his passion, his wit, his way with words -- even when there was a certain cruelty or elitism in some of his criticism (what's not to love about a guy who willingly called it how he saw it.... particularly when it came to the unholy alliance of art and business --- This is one of my favourite Hughes moments ).... His razor-sharp mind seemed only to be matched by his acid tongue.

His TV series and accompanying book -  'The Shock of the New' was released while I was in high school and I'm not exaggerating when I say it changed the course of my life - the series inspired me to undertake extra art theory for my HSC - his later series, 'American Visions' convinced me to undertake a BA - Art History.... (It's somewhat ironic that only yesterday a mate shared a story about the demise of art history in university programs....)

Hughes remains one of the biggest influences on my arts practice.

ahhhhhh today marks the passing of a cultural hero

read/see the news:


  1. Hi Ronnie... how did I miss this?
    Gore Vidal last week... another wordsmith... big thinking men...on for a fight. Hughes was terribly important for this country no matter what personal inconsistencies there may have been.

    Thanks for an excellent post!
    hope all is well down there!

  2. Well said ronnie, Robert Hughes certainly was a big influence, especially "The Shock of the New" (1980) which still sits in my bookcase (with slightly foxed pages). Don't know how I missed hearing about it either!

  3. The Shock of the New is still something I reference. Robert Hughes' opinions made me think. Thanks for posting this.
    Very well done.

  4. ronnie, that film really made my day! what a perceptive and REAL man. i haven't read the shock of the new but have read hughes now and then. i will, now.


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