Words of Artistic Wisdom [and Criticism]: Robert Hughes


The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, and then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning. It’s not something that committees can do. It’s not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It’s done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world.
― Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New

“Robert Hughes has been called the ‘most popular art critic in the country,’ and to have given Time magazine its ‘only consistently good writing’ in recent years (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 4/5/93)…Hughes is probably best known for his strong stance against what he called the ‘commodification and hyping the market’ of the art world in 1980s…The artworks Hughes admires the most are those than embody a sense of fiction, mystery and history. Specifically, Hughes looks for artists who are unafraid to become deeply personal and even autobiographical with their canvases, to bring something intimate to the work. ” (Source: The Art Story – http://www.theartstory.org/critic-hughes-robert.htm


  • The New Yorker (2012 August 07): Postscript: Robert Hughes – http://nyr.kr/1130na3
  • NYT (2012 August 16): Robert Hughes, Art Critic Whose Writing was Contentious, Dies at 74 – http://nyti.ms/112YQRf
  • TIME (2012 August 07): The Art of Being Critical: Robert Hughes (1938–2012) – http://ti.me/ZtFqe6
  • TIME Magazine: Complete Index of Robert Hughes’ Writings for TIMEhttp://ti.me/1132GtF
  • World Socialist Website (30 August 2012): Art History with a capital A and H: Art critic and social historian Robert Hughes (1938-2012) – http://bit.ly/1132jzn
  • The Shock of the New: 8 part documentary about development of modernism from the Impressionists through Warhol (1980)
    1. Episode 1: The Mechanical Paradise
      Episode 2: The Powers That Be
      Episode 3: The Landscape of Pleasure
      Episode 4: Trouble in Utopia
      Episode 5: The Threshold of Liberty
      Episode 6: The View from the Edge
      Episode 7: Culture as Nature
      Episode 8: The Future That Was
      The New Shock of the New (2004)