Lifestyle & Belief

Robert Hughes, Australian art critic and historian, dead at 74


Robert Hughes, art critic and historian, has died at age 74.



Robert Hughes, renowned art critic and historian, died Monday night after a long illness. He was 74. 

Hughes, an Australian who moved to London and then New York, was the chief art critic for Time Magazine for three decades, and is best known for his sweeping 1987 history of Australia, "Fatal Shore," as well as the eight-part documentary about the development of modernist art "Shock of the New," which he turned into a book, ABC News Australia reported

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He died at the Bronx' Cavalry hospital, and lived in Briarcliff Manor, New York. 

The New York Times praised Hughes in their obituary, calling him an "eloquent combative art critic and historian who lived with an operatic flair and wrote with a sense of authority that owed more to Zola or Ruskin than to his own century." 

"Hughes took no prisoners, accrued admirers and made enemies," wrote BBC News' arts reporter Vincent Dowd

"The Shock of the New" garnered Hughes acclaim, and changed the way many thought about modern art. 

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"The Shock of the New was, for me, a shock on a couple of levels," wrote Entertainment Weekly editor Ken Tucker. "I’d never seen such a forcefully argued documentary on television; I’d never heard art explained with such clarity; I’d never felt such joy absorbing invective mingled with praise emanating from such a curt, dashing fellow."

Here, a clip of Hughes from the documentary, speaking about what art is: 

And some of the best reactions from Twitter on the memorable art critic: 

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