Monday, 6 August 2012

robert hughes

i was saddened to hear about the passing of robert hughes. he'd never looked the healthiest since his car crash but 74, while a good shout, seems just too early.

i have a fair few of hughes' books knocking about the house. the last, rome, took for the start at least a bit of a critical pounding from mary beard but the rest was vintage hughes and i was looking forward to what he'd be coming out with next as his opinions were certainly not mellowing with age!

my own favourites were barcelona, again not without its mistakes, but the best book i've read for capturing the spirit of the city. and then of course shock of the new and american visions, when i was in the states it was great tracking down these pictures i'd only heard hughes' rattling on about on tv or read about in his books.

here he is on damien hirst who, among others, he didn't like

and on anselm keifer, who he did

he didn't, in later life, seem to maintain the fervour he had for modern art at the time of the shock of the new and spent more time looking back, particularly at goya. maybe he did feel more and more distanced from the art around him. seeming sometimes like someone left over, a remnant. i hope, at the end of his life, he found some ease.

me, i'm glad i'm came across him. at a time when there seems to be so much bad art criticism about (and i use the term loosely) it' s a relief to get back to him, to hear that acid but endearing voice. as it continues to do nothing but rain i plan to sit down tomorrow and do some serious youtube, have a listen, discuss, argue, just the sort of things i imagined i'd do if i ever got to meet him.


Rachel Fox said...

Enjoyed the Hirst/Warhol clip. Never heard of Hughes before... missed him!

swiss said...

i;m sure the bbc will drag something out of the archives. which i'll look forward to esp as i tried (and failed) to watch that thing about the history of art in colour the other night!

swiss said...

a nice wee piece from the guardian here -

and one from the age here which, handily, has a link in the comments thru which the shock of the new is available

swiss said...

and abc

Marion McCready said...

don't shoot me but Robert who?! I'll look him up :)

swiss said...

too many books and not enough pictures!