Robert Hughes (critic)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Robert Studley Forrest Hughes, AO (28 July 1938 - 6 August 2012) was an Australian-born art critic, writer and television documentary maker who resided in New York from 1970. He is the author of The Shock Of The New and The Fatal Shore.
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.
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.
During the 1990s, Hughes was a prominent supporter of the Australian Republican Movement.
His 1997 television series American Visions reviewed the history of American art since the Revolution. He was again dismissive of 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. During production, Hughes was involved in the near-fatal road accident detailed in the next section.