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Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes jacket photo from A Jerk on One End He's knowledgable, sensible, passionate, lucid, unpretentious. But the simplest reason Time Magazine's Robert Hughes is possibly the best art critic writing today is that he's always interesting. Even when you disagree with him, it's impossible not to enjoy doing so.

You have to be an intellectual to believe such nonsense. No ordinary man could be such a fool. George Orwell was talking politics when he coined this aphorism -- one of The Best Things Anybody Ever Said -- but he might just as well have been referring to the art world in the 20th century and beyond. In such an age, Robert Hughes is a refreshingly sane voice.

Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia in 1938. He studied arts and architecture at Sydney University, during which time he made a name for himself within the Sydney "Push" -- a progressive group of artists, writers, intellectuals and drinkers. Among the group were two other blazingly witty and incisive cultural observers: Germaine Greer and Clive James. Incredibly, Hughes was commissioned to write a history of Australian painting while an undergraduate and dropped out of university.

He left Australia for Britain in the early 1960's, writing for such publications as the Spectator, the Telegraph, the Times and the Observer, before landing the position of art critic for Time Magazine in 1970.

Important books he has written include The Shock of the New (1981), The Fatal Shore (1987), Culture of Complaint (1993) and American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America (1997).

Hughes had established an unassailable position as the world's most famous and most influential art critic, when things recently started to go wrong for him. He had a nervous breakdown in 1997. While in Australia in 1999 to film the documentary Beyond the Fatal Shore, he was in a head-on collision and nearly died. He was accused of causing the accident (of which he has no recollection) and charged with dangerous driving. Then when the show ultimately aired, Hughes was accused of showing a negative and outdated view of Australia.

Bad went to worse when he was acquitted of the dangerous driving charge, and afterwards launched a personal attack against the public prosecutors for bringing the case against him. They obtained a retrial and filed defamation lawsuits against Hughes, the result being that the writer could be jailed and also be liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. I haven't found recent news of this case, but it appears that Hughes intends to remain in exile in the US rather than return for the second trial.

The worst imaginable news hit Robert Hughes in April, 2001: his thirty-three-year-old son Danton, a sculptor, committed suicide in Australia.

Amazingly, Hughes has continued to write for Time Magazine, although less frequently than before the accident. Just recently he has reappeared, however, publishing in the December 17th and 24th issues of Time. Here's hoping that 2002 will be good to him and that he'll continue to share his insights with us for a long time to come.
      - John Malyon
Books by Robert Hughes:

Things I Didn't Know: A Memoir
Things I Didn't Know: A Memoir
September, 2006

Amazon.com customer rating: 4 stars out of 5

Amazon.com customer rating: 5 stars out of 5
A Jerk on One End: Reflections of a Mediocre Fisherman
A Jerk on One End: Reflections of a Mediocre Fisherman

Articles about Robert Hughes

Brief Time Magazine Biography of Robert Hughes

Salon Magazine on American Visions
"With his finely tuned [BS] meter and his dramatic flair, Robert Hughes has become America's best guide through the thickets of fine art." (May, 1997)

Toronto Sun Article: Meet Robert Hughes, the World's Greatest Art Critic
"Hughes is a great critic for his vitriol alone. His crisp, beautifully paced annihilation of fake artists like Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel is marvellous to read at a time when it is considered gauche to criticize anything." (June 1, 1997)

The Critic in Exile
New York Times article about Hughes' recent legal problems in Australia -- the fallout from a 1999 head-on collision which nearly killed him. (January 14, 2001)

Robert Hughes, an Australian Tragedy
Recent article on Hughes' troubles, including the death of his son. (July 20, 2001)

Robert Hughes in his Own Words

1997 Salon Magazine Interview with Robert Hughes
"I hate all those bastards with faces like silver teapots at Sotheby's -- all of that hypermarketing of art turns me right off. Because it intersects with a fatal propensity for sanctimony. I don't like the idea of art being a pseudo-religion. I love genuinely visionary, mystical art."

Text of a 1996 address to the International Society for the Performing Arts
"There's no contradiction attached to liking both Tiepolo and Doonesbury, both country-and-western and Mozart. The task is to distinguish, without snobbery or condescension, between the good stuff, the absolute crap, and everything that lies between..."

Robert Hughes on Picasso as the most influential artist of the 20th century
"[Picasso's] death left the public with a nostalgia for genius that no talent today, in the field of painting, can satisfy."

Robert Hughes' Writings in Time Magazine
Time Magazine now only has a small selection of articles available online. Time articles as far back as 1985 are available but must be purchased individually. However, all of these articles (and much more besides) are available if you register for a free seven-day trial of HighBeam.

Note: The links below no longer work. They can be purchased through Time's website but I don't know of a free source for them at this time.
2003/02/03   He Drew Like An Angel
A superb show surveys the conflicted, elusive but masterly graphics of Leonardo da Vinci.

2002/12/09   Mighty Medici
The rulers of Renaissance Florence were legendary patrons of art. A splendid show surveys their legacy.

2002/07/29   Reflections
Lucian Freud reveals his "innermost feelings" at London's Tate Britain.

2002/05/27   Goya's Women
Demonic witches, cheeky majas, blond angels--he portrayed every she-creature the eye could light on.

2002/05/06   The Unblinking Blur
From banal photos, Gerhard Richter forged a new direction for German art.

2002/03/18   Flyaway Fantasy
Rediscovering the charm and wit--and influence--of Paul Klee.

2002/01/14   A World Of Grownups
Urban sophistication was the theme of John Koch's life and of his work. And both look alluring today.

2001/12/24   When Beauty Was Virtue
The great Italian Renaissance portraits of women were dream images. But truthful likenesses? No

2001/12/17   The Joy Of Color
Long in Seurat's shadow, Paul Signac was a terrific painter in his own right

2001/09/10   Escaping the Provincial Trap
South America's 20th century abstractionists found a way to be local - and universal

2001/08/13   The Aesthete as Popeye
It's time to give the raucous, war-haunted H.C. Westermann his due as a major sculptor

2001/07/16   The Poet of Pastry
Wayne Thiebaud offers deep pleasures in the everyday, from pies and cakes to slices of landscape

2001/07/09   Martin Puryear
A master of both modernism and traditional crafts, he creates sculptures that are a synthesis of beauty but free of cliche

2001/06/18   Chatting with the Devil, Dining with Prophets
Seer, bard and oddball, artist-poet William Blake poured his passions into uniquely visionary images

2001/05/07   Shadows and Light
A survey of Vermeer and his fellow artists in Delft shows why he was the master

2001/03/26   Still Fresh as Ever
After a century, Manet's still lifes remain knockouts

2001/03/19   Buddha Bashing
Afghanistan has few treasures left. So why are the Taliban intent on demolishing what remains?

2001/03/05   A Foundling of the Louvre
Balthus: 1909-2001

2001/02/26   Missionary of the New
Battler, moralist and connoisseur, Alfred Stieglitz was the premier champion of Modernism in the U.S.

2001/02/05   A Beauty Really Bare
Do the Minimalist austerities of Sol LeWitt amount to a saint's hair shirt or just the Emperor's new clothes?

2000/12/11   A Flawed Ex-Paradise
Promised land or hell of black insecurity? A vast exhibit evokes California's saga of innocence lost.

2000/10/23   The Subtle Magic of Koetsu
A rare U.S. exhibit shows why the 17th century master's works are national treasures in Japan

2000/09/11   The Real Australia
Americans know a lot about the place, most of it wrong. Our art critic evokes its true glories and flaws as only a native son can.

2000/07/31   Silent Mysteries
The quiet, marvelous paintings of Chardin capture things as they really are, making him the genius of the 18th century bourgeois imagination

2000/07/10   Kissing a Grimy Princess
By turning a power station into a gallery of modern art, London's Tate brilliantly clarifies its collections

2000/06/05   The Stuff Modernism Overthrew
In a fascinating exhibit, the fashionable art of the year 1900 doesn't hold up well. But then, how will 2000's favorites look a century from now?

2000/03/13   The Two Faces of Dali
Both the young genius and the lying old fanatic are on display in a new show

2000/03/06   The Auction House Scandal
Once unquestioned and all-powerful, Sotheby's and Christie's are reeling from a sweeping investigation of their business

2000/01/01   A Livable Treasure-House
The Phillips Collection mounts a splendid show to commemorate itself and its dedicated founder

1999/12/27   Spain's Conquistador
Velazquez's paintings raised Iberian art to the level of 17th century Europe's greatest masters

1999/07/05   Fella Down a Hole
You don't know the frontier spirit until you've met Australia's hardy opal miners

1999/06/07   An Impressionist Abroad
New Orleans through the eyes of Edgar Degas

1999/05/31   Mocker of All Styles
Edgy and elusive, Germany's Sigmar Polke flits through the image haze of consumerist society

1999/05/24   Fine, Indecipherable Flourishes
Saul Steinberg: 1914-1999

1999/05/10   A Nation's Self-Image
Can all of American art in the 20th century be encompassed in a museum show? In New York, the Whitney gives it a brave try -- with balance, care and a keen eye for th

1999/05/03   From Assisi's Treasury
A show of medieval works serves as a reminder of repair efforts on the quake-damaged church

1999/04/19   Lifting the Spirit
Britain's Sir Norman Foster wins the Pritzker for his innovative, humane designs around the world

1999/03/29   A True Visual Sensualist
Modernists once dismissed John Singer Sargent's society portraits. They were wrong.

1999/03/08   The Faces of an Epoch
Ingres's portraits captured the 19th century upper crust with uncanny precision, brio and power

1999/02/22   Visionary Homebody
The 17th century Dutch painter Pieter de Hooch raised orderly domesticity to the level of sanctity

1999/02/01   Puzzles of a Courtier
In 400 years we've lost the key to Dosso Dossi

1998/12/14   Style was Key
In Washington, a magnificent show of 2 1/2 centuries of Japanese art

1998/11/23   Flittering in the Dells
The English penchant for painting fairies makes for a worthwhile, if peculiar, exhibition

1998/11/02   Visions of Two Raw Continents
Compared with America's, Australia's landscapes of the 1800s saw a bleaker beauty

1998/10/26   Wynn Win?
Opening his $1.6 billion Picasso palace, Steve Wynn bets he can turn Las Vegas into a class act

1998/10/19   Steel-Drivin' Man
Richard Serra's massive new sculptures, as big as houses, create a wholly original spatial drama

1998/09/07   Down-Home Populist
With his vignettes of rural Yankee life, William Sidney Mount was America's first genre painter...

1998/08/31   A Shimmer of Hints
In the luminous, intimate world of Bonnard, all is shifting, dissolving, teasingly half glimpsed

1998/08/17   Going Out on the Edge
Our critic finds speed, beauty and a glimpse of his youth at the Guggenheim's motorcycle show

1998/06/29   Sculptural One-Liners
Charles Ray's conceptual works project a portrait of the artist as smart, nerdy and passive-aggressive

1998/06/15   An Escapist's Dreamworld
Modern taste rediscovers the work of Edward Burne-Jones

1998/06/08   Most Influential Artist of the Century: Pablo Picasso
Famous as no artist ever had been, he was a pioneer, a master and a protean monster, with a hand in every art movement of the century

1998/05/04   The Merry Modernist
By setting sculpture in motion, Alexander Calder made it fluent, witty and supremely friendly

1998/04/27   Sublime Windbag
Writer, lover, national hero, Victor Hugo was also a brilliant draftsman of the unconscious

1998/04/13   Close Encounters
Throughout his career, Chuck Close has focused on faces. What he shows is more than skin deep.

1998/03/09   A Passion for the New
In the Jazz Age, America discovered its cultural voice

1998/03/02   Master of Visual Slang
Léger saw machines as the poetry of Modernism

1998/01/19   Hold Those Paintings!
The Manhattan D.A. seizes alleged Nazi loot

1997/12/22   Embedded in Nature
Arthur Dove, a pioneering U.S. modernist, took his abstract forms from rocks, trees, sea and sun

1997/12/08   God is in the Vectors
The luminous architecture of Richard Diebenkorn's paintings

1997/11/24   Auctioneers' Slugfest
The '80s market boom is history. so Christie's and Sothebys now try to outpromote each other

1997/11/03   Bravo! Bravo!
On a hill in Los Angeles and by a river in Spain, two leading architects unveil grandly innovative, knockout buildings that climax the age of American museum expansion

1997/10/27   The Great Permitter
A vast retrospective celebrates the Whitmanesque profusion of Robert Rauschenberg

1997/10/13   Pop's Most Popular
With humor and style, Roy Lichtenstein made beauty out of "trash"

1997/08/18   Ancient, Frozen Smiles
A marvelous show highlights the glorious heritage of Cambodian sculpture -- and its current, desperate peril

1997/05/21   American Visions Feature Issue
    1. The Images Made by America's Artists Inscribe Our Beliefs, Our Dreams -- Our Story
    2. Craft: Making it Straight
    3. Memory: To Shape a Past
    4. Grandeur: The Beauty of Big
    5. Wilderness: The Sacred Mission
    6. Visionaries: Seeking the Spirit
    7. Cities: Grit and Grids
    8. Innovation: Breaking the Mold
    9. Endpaper

1997/03/31   Desire at Full Stretch
Willem de Kooning: 1904-1997

1997/03/24   A Cultural Gift from Hitler
Exiled by Nazism, Europeans immensely enriched American art

1997/02/24   A Life of Bizarre Obsession
Reclusive, harmlessly mad, Henry Darger created a weird secret saga that is now being celebrated as "outsider art"

1997/02/03   Venetian Virtuoso
Two shows celebrate the brio, wit and power of the 18th century master Giambattista Tiepolo

1997/01/27   Days of Antic Weirdness
A look back at Dadaism's brief, outrageous assault on the New York scene

1996/11/11   Behind the Sacred Aura
Jasper Johns gives nothing away, but his cool, lovely mastery of indirection finally becomes claustrophobic

1996/11/04   Towering Venture
Grove's new 34-volume Dictionary of Art is an epic publishing event

1996/06/24   America's Supreme Realist
The popular Winslow Homer painted a masterly, penetrating -- and surprisingly dark -- vision of 19th century life

1996/06/10   Modernism's Patriarch
The Cezanne exhibition in Philadelphia is an epic, humbling event, fully worthy of its great subject

1996/05/06   All-American Barbaric Yawp
Raucous, corny, sometimes brilliant, Ed Kienholz assembled junk into powerful metaphors

1996/04/29   Treasures of the Empire
Rising above politics, a splendid show surveys four millenniums of Chinese art

1996/03/25   Bringing Nature Home
In Paris, a major new look at Corot, who moved from nymphs toward Modernism

1996/03/25   Relics of Camelot
The faithful seek trophies in the sale of Jacqueline Onassis' household effects

1996/03/04   Golden Oldies
An overambitious survey of the century's distinctive movement: abstraction

1996/02/19   The Epic of the City
As the century turned, the Ashcan painters chronicled a new frontier: the urban scene

1996/01/22   Delight for its Own Sake
Feelings, not ideas, are what matter to Howard Hodgkin, and he evokes them in colors like no other in modern painting

1996/01/08   Dutch Treat
Budget politics interrupt but cannot dim the visual magic of an epochal Vermeer exhibition

1995/12/18   Funk and Chic
Contrasting rough-hewn blocks with sleekly soaring curves, Brancusi's sculptures achieve a healing wholeness

1995/10/23   Purifying Nature
A superb exhibition traces Mondrian's quest for images that express a universal order

1995/10/09   Rising Star
How John Singleton Copley became Colonial America's best portraitist

1995/09/18   Camping Under Glass
The ghost of Florine Stettheimer, remote and glittering, evokes a period between the wars in a new show at the Whitney

1995/08/07   Pulling the Fuse on Culture
The conservatives' all-out assault on federal funding is unenlightened, uneconomic and undemocratic

1995/07/24   Whistler Unveiled
Behind the legend, a fine, not great, painter

1995/07/17   Under the Crack of Reality
Edward Hopper saw an America that no other painter had got right. Now we can't see it without seeing him.

1995/06/26   Rising from the Ruins
A show records how Europe reaffirmed its artistic vitality after World War II, when the action had moved to New York

1995/05/22   Food for Thought
In 17th and 18th century Spanish still lifes, everyday objects are set against a perspective of fleeting time and death

1995/04/24   Being a Nuisance
His work is deliberately off-putting, but Bruce Nauman has become the most influential American artist of his generation

1995/04/17   Peculiar But Grand
Unknown outside Australia, the proud and isolated Ian Fairweather brilliantly mixed the styles of east and west

1995/04/03   The Spoils of War
Russia's new displays of art looted from Germany reignite a debate over who rightfully owns such plunder

1995/03/06   History's Bad Dreams
The embattled R.B. Kitaj evokes edgy poetry from the 20th century image-memory

1995/02/13   Behold the Stone Age
Powerful paintings in a long-hidden cave offer glimpses into the minds of our early ancestors

1995/01/30   A Soaring Well of Light
Mario Botta designs an elegant museum for San Francisco. now the institution must live up to its new environs

1995/01/23   The Man Who Painted IMPACT
A show takes a new look at Franz Kline's bold, slashing black-and-white paintings of the 1950s

1995/01/09   Drinking the Color
In his pioneering sojourn in Morocco, Delacroix learned from its vibrant hues and patterns how to evoke a living antiquity

1994/12/05   Decorum and Fury
A historic exhibition shows the force of reality and mystery in the work of Poussin

1994/11/14   New Dawn
What shaped the vision of the great Impressionists?

1994/10/17   Russia's Secret Spoils of World War II
The Hermitage in St. Petersburg breaks its silence on a hidden trove of Impressionist treasures

1994/10/17   The Grafitti of Loss
In nuanced abstractions, America's Cy Twombly shores up scribbly fragments against the ruins of the past

1994/07/11   America's Prodigy
Thomas Cole's landscapes of the young nation as an imperiled Arcadia made him a culture hero

1994/07/04   Baby Dali
An exhibit shows that the young Salvador Dali thought he could do anything, and he almost could

1994/05/30   Seeing the Face in the Fire
Though it omits sculpture and drawing, a De Kooning retrospective proves his genius once again

1994/05/16   Auctions in the Pits
The once aggressive squillionaire buyers are staying away from contemporary art, and the mood at auction houses is glum

1994/05/02   Seeking the Wild
Little known outside of Australia, Arthur Boyd is a world-class painter

1994/01/24   Icons of Stalinism
Soviet Socialist Realism portrayed a godlike Maximum Leader reigning over a communist heaven

1993/12/27   The Fat Lady Sings
An exhibit affirms Lucian Freud, 71, as the best realist painter alive

1993/12/06   Dolls and Discontents
A show at the Whitney Museum highlights the flailing adolescent outlook and weird confessional talent of Mike Kelley

1993/11/22   Stanzas from a Black Epic
The 60 paintings in Jacob Lawrence's great Migration series present piercing images of the African-American experience

1993/11/08   Roy Lichtenstein: The Image Duplicator
At New York's Guggenheim Museum, a splashy retrospective hails the ironies of Pop's cool and ever reliable academic

1993/10/25   The Purest Dreamer in Paris
On his centenary, a lavish show celebrates the precise yet hauntingly poetic vision of Catalan artist Joan Miro

1993/10/11   A Paler Shade of White
In a retrospective, the nuanced but narrow Minimalism of Robert Ryman casts a spell

1993/10/04   The View from Piccadilly
In London, a survey of modern American art is spotty and distorted

1993/09/13   Mechanics Illustrated
Comic grace and a needling mysteriousness inform much of Rebecca Horn's eccentric sculpture

1993/08/16   When the Easel Went POP
The explosive arrival of the mass media into painting in the late '50s was not so radical as it seems

1993/07/26   An Outlaw Who Loved Laws
France's Jean Dubuffet proclaimed himself a raw radical, but a new show displays his ease with nuance and tradition

1993/07/12   Yankee Against the Grain
A lyrical show highlights the landscape mastery of Fairfield Porter

1993/06/28   A Shambles in Venice (The 45th Venice Biennale)

1993/06/21   Envoy to Two Cultures
A scholar and humanist, Edward Said is the controversial voice of Palestine in America and an eloquent mediator between the Middle East and the West

1993/06/07   Striking At the Past Itself
Terrorists bomb the Uffizi, destroying lives and precious artifacts of civilization

1993/06/07   Magdalena Abakanowicz: Dark Visions of Primal Myth

1993/05/10   Opening the Barnes Door
Amid lawsuits and controversy, one of the world's great semi-unknown collections begins a tour at last

1993/05/03   The Iron Age of Sculpture
A show looks at some 20th century sculptors who changed the material and nature of the art

1993/04/12   Brush with Genius
Now playing in Paris: a sublime show of Titian, one of the half dozen most influential artists ever

1993/03/22   A Fiesta of Whining
Preachy and political, the Whitney Biennial celebrates sodden cant and cliche

1993/03/08   Vitality's Signature
The drawings of Daumier powerfully capture the muck and detail of life

1993/03/01   Signs of Anxiety
In a retrospective, American artist Susan Rothenberg emerges from the '80s as a painter of mystery, originality and real staying power

1993/02/22   Wifredo Lam: Taking Back his Own Gods
The Cuban artist built a bridge between the Caribbean and the avant-gardes of Paris and New York

1993/02/08   Jeff Koons: The Princeling of Kitsch

1993/01/25   Music Halls, Murder and Tabloid Pix
Well ahead of his time, British painter Walter Sickert took popular culture, even the mass media, as his theme

1993/01/11   The Masterpiece Road Show
An exhibit of ancient Greek sculpture is used to advance a specious political argument

1992/12/28   Telling an Inner Life
By making Minimalism personal and female, Eva Hesse became a pivotal figure in American sculpture

1992/12/14   The View from Outside
An exhibition honors the visionaries, obsessives and crackpots whose influence energized Modernism

1992/11/16   The Purple Haze of Hype
Basquiat at the Whitney Museum

1992/11/02   Russia's Great Flowering
A huge show surveys the heady moment early in the century when radical art became the house style of a political revolution

1992/10/12   Baroque Futurist
To Jusepe de Ribera, "the Little Spaniard," realism was the violence of cruel images

1992/09/28   Matisse: The Color of Genius
A sublime retrospective illuminates the mastery of a paladin of Modernism

1992/09/21   The Poker-Faced Enchanter
A retrospective of Rene Magritte proves that the great Belgian Surrealist's mind-wrenching visual puns and paradoxes still slice cleanly

1992/08/31   William H. Johnson: Return from Alienation

1992/08/03   A Passion for Islands
The Paintings of George Bellows at the Whitney Museum

1992/07/27   Homage to Barcelona
Teeming and gritty, the historic Catalan capital is jealous of its independence and proud of its brilliant culture

1992/07/20   When Spain was Islamic
An exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum evokes the vanished culture of the Muslim conquest of Iberia

1992/06/29   Guercino: The Vision of the Squinter

1992/06/22   The NEA: Trampled Again
When Dan Quayle and the religious right talk about moral values, it can only be bad news for the arts agency, long a scapegoat for "liberal" culture

1992/06/15   Fugues in Stone and Air
Long out of fashion and hard to love, Canova was nevertheless a spectacularly gifted sculptor

1992/05/25   Really Rembrandt?
An exhibition in London demonstrates that many works attributed to the great master, including some famous and much loved ones, were painted by his assistants

1992/05/11   A Reliable Bag of Tricks
William M. Harnett at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

1992/04/20   Review: Dada for the Valley Girl

1992/04/13   The Faberge of Funk
The tiny, witty works of California ceramist Ken Price belie the notion that real sculpture ought to be big

1992/03/09   Cutting through the Myth
A show sweeps aside the Hollywood image of Toulouse-Lautrec and takes a full, clear look at his vibrant achievement

1992/03/02   Delight in a Shaping Hand
An exhibit of the craftsmanlike, poetic forms of Martin Puryear shows why he is one of the best sculptors alive

1992/02/24   A Genius Obsessed by Stone
Taking classical sculpture as his model, Mantegna populated the new world of the Renaissance

1992/02/03   The Fraying of America
When a nation's diversity breaks into factions, demagogues rush in, false issues cloud debate, and everybody has a grievance

1992/01/20   Seeing Life in Jazz Tempo
A major show gives the neglected Stuart Davis his due as a great, brash chronicler of the urban American scene

1991/12/09   Germany's Ironic Trickster
A touring U.S. retrospective displays the political sarcasm and brilliantly mixed-up imagery of Sigmar Polke

1991/11/04   Lines That Go for a Walk
The exhilarating tracery of Brice Marden's new work affirms his pre-eminence among U.S. abstract painters

1991/10/28   Wallowing in the Mass Media Sea
Brash and accessible, the Pop style revolutionized the art world, for better or worse -- but what was its lasting value? A big London show suggests some answers.

1991/10/07   Putting a Zeitgeist in a Box
A huge show revisits the three cities where Modernism flowered in the 1920s

1991/09/23   Against the Cult of the Moment
A superb show presents Georges Seurat as an inspired lyricist who achieved grand images of mysterious permanence

1991/07/15   Approaching Absolute Zero
Ad Reinhardt, gadfly and hater of bogus mysticism, reduced painting to the pure power of austerity

1991/06/10   Visual Jazz from a Sharp Eye
A retrospective in Harlem illuminates the keen human observations of collagist Romare Bearden

1991/05/13   How the West was Spun
A big, controversial show in Washington stirs revisions of frontier art

1991/04/29   Exhibit B in the Dud Museum
The overhyped David Salle traces feebly and drones vacuously. Is there a duller or more formulaic painter in America?

1991/04/22   The Rebel Dreams of Oedipus Max
Like a conspiratorial uncle, the Surrealist Max Ernst speaks anew to the subversiveness of youth

1991/03/25   The Gift of a Lifetime
After a fevered but discreet competition, the Met wins a tycoon's treasured trove

1991/03/18   Modernism's Russian Front
The birth of abstraction is illuminated in the energetic work of two compatriots [Kasimir Malevich and Liubov Popova]

1991/03/04   Culture on the Nazi Pillory
The Third Reich's mocking exhibit of "degenerate" works is re-created for the first time

1991/02/18   Portrait of the Young Artist
Review of the Book "A Life of Picasso"

1991/01/28   America's Vainest Museum
Armand Hammer's tribute to himself raises a furor

1991/01/14   A Meteor That Didn't Burn Out
The precocious Van Dyck chased the Tudor stiffness out of English painting

1990/12/03   The Great Massacre of 1990
As auction prices plunge, overhyped contemporary works are hit the hardest

1990/11/26   America's Saintly Sage
A look at Albert Pinkham Ryder's myth -- and its limits

1990/11/12   Seeing the Far in the Near
A Midwest show reassesses the underknown Richard Pousette-Dart

1990/10/22   Upstairs and Downstairs At MOMA
A survey of the intersection of art and popular culture gets gridlocked

1990/10/15   Onward from Olmec
A monumental exhibit of Mexico's art redeems the "image problem"

1990/10/01   Sculpture of the Absurd
Joel Shapiro brings uncanny expressiveness to human form

1990/09/17   An Appetite for Human Character
Titian found the mind's construction in the faces of his subjects

1990/08/13   Modernism's Neglected Side
A first-rate London show assesses the classical revival, sympathetically but coolly

1990/07/30   A Sampler of Witless Truisms
America's Jenny Holzer showers Received Ideas on the Biennale

1990/07/23   A Lyrical Colorist Rediscovered
De Stael painted by "the rule that corrects the emotion"

1990/07/02   A Domain of Light and Color
Morocco's impact on Matisse is traced in a radiant show

1990/06/04   Whose Art is it, Anyway?
Desperate for an enemy, the radical right accuses Washington of subsidizing obscene, elitist art. The facts paint a different picture.

1990/05/28   Bumps in the Auction Boom
Two great paintings go through the roof, but the floor is shaky

1990/05/07   Brilliant, But Not for Real
A show surveys old and new masters of forgery

1990/04/02   A Boston Theft Reflects the Art World's Turmoil
Bungling burglars get away with two masterpieces and expose the dark side of an inflated industry

1990/04/02   Rooted at Last
Van Gogh's Irises, 1889, known to the trade as "the Curse of the Outback"

1990/03/26   Letting Nature Reign Resplendent
A superb Monet show proves how much more than "only an eye" the painter was

1990/03/12   Zen and Perceptual Hiccups
A show surveys the mysterious paintings of Robert Moskowitz

1990/02/19   The Pursuits of Pleasure
Thomas Rowlandson's satirical view of Georgian society

1990/01/29   Two Centuries of Stereotypes
A show at the Corcoran examines the portrayal of blacks in America

1990/01/08   Blockbusters of an Inventive Showman
American master Frederic Edwin Church's spectacular 19th century landscapes were the CinemaScope of his age

1989/12/25   Mucking with Media
The Whitney offers a long trek through the alien goo

1989/11/27   SOLD!
It went crazy, it stays crazy, but don't ask what the art market is doing to museums and the public

1989/11/27   The Anatomy of a Deal
How Alan Bond bought a $53.9 million painting [van Gogh's Irises], with more than a little help

1989/11/06   Between the Sistine, and Disney
The licentious genius of Mantua's Giulio Romano

1989/10/09   Velazquez's Binding Ethic
The genius of Spanish realism is seen in the U.S.

1989/10/02   The Adam and Eve of Modernism
Picasso and Braque's "passionate adventure" in Cubism

1989/09/18   Paris a La Mitterrand
A panoply of grandiose projects transforms the city for better and for worse

1989/08/14   Earning his Stripes
Sean Scully makes something special of a simple motif

1989/08/14   A Loony Parody of Cultural Democracy

1989/06/26   Poetry in Glass and Steel
A posthumous show confirms Christopher Wilmarth's stature

1989/06/12   A Love of Spontaneous Gesture
The lyrical color-fields of Helen Frankenthaler are surveyed in a new show

1989/05/22   The Brio of a Great All-Rounder
A drawing show brings the genius of Inigo Jones to the U.S.

1989/05/08   The Partial Comeback of a Fallen Angel
After long neglect, a look at the 17th century's Guido Reni

1989/05/01   Tarted Up 'Till the Eye Cries Uncle
Reviving the vulgarity of Thomas Hart Benton

1989/04/10   Canvases of Their Own
Now that socialist realism has been undone, artists struggle between the desire to find a fresh vision and the lure of Western markets

1989/04/03   The N.R.A. in a Hunter's Sights

1989/04/03   Raw Talk, But Cooked Painting
A show surveys innovation and tradition in 20th century Italy

1989/02/13   The Best and Worst of Warhol
A show traces the banality that inspired and undid him

1989/02/06   The Embarrassing Genius Behind the Kitsch
Salvador Dali wrung poetry from neurosis

1989/01/30   A Despairing Assault on Terminal Evil
The raging Goya was actually a man of the Enlightenment, a masterly show argues

1989/01/23   Tracing God's Fingerprint
A fascinating show brings German Romantic drawings to the fore

1989/01/09   An Abiding Passion for Reality
The character of Courbet is captured in a rich new show

1988/12/26   An Escape to Renaissance Siena
The Met's new show of 15th century painting is a delight

1988/12/12   The Decisive Line of a Master
Richard Diebenkorn's drawings make an inspiring exhibition

1988/12/05   The Club Med of the Humanists
A Washington show surveys Arcadia, as seen by painters from Giorgione to Matisse

1988/11/14   A Tortoise Obsessed with Oily Stuff
Painter Leon Kossoff prevails by plying a rich tradition

1988/10/31   Evoking the Spirit Ancestors
The ancient, mythic world of the Aborigines comes alive

1988/10/24   A Classicist Who Burned with Inner Fire
Fort Worth offers the U.S.'s first Poussin retrospective

1988/10/17   Seeing Degas as Never Before
A superb retrospective of the great French realist opens in New York City

1988/10/03   Splendor Packaged in Kitsch
Los Angeles unveils a home for Japanese treasures

1988/08/01   Glimpses of an Unsexy Tortoise
A new Braque show offers too little of a great thing

1988/07/25   The Venice Biennale Bounces Back
Dominated by Jasper Johns, this year's event is again a prime festival of the new

1988/07/11   Heritage of Rich Imagery
Hispanic art celebrates a diverse ethnic spirit

1988/06/20   Giving Success a Good Name
Hockney's skill and wit create a consistent world

1988/06/20   Perils of Pablo
Review of Picasso: Creator and Destroyer

1988/06/13   Gods, Chess and 28,000 Magazines
Three impressive sculpture shows range from primal power to consumerist satire

1988/05/30   Discontents of the White Tribe
Eric Fischl disturbingly paints the hidden life of suburbia

1988/05/09   Seeing Gauguin Whole at Last
A masterly exhibition corrects myths and moonshine about the pioneering painter

1988/05/02   Toward a Mummified Sublime
Using black glop, Donald Sultan produces gloomy elegance

1988/04/08   Fiddler on the Roof of Modernism
Marc Chagall: 1887-1985

1988/01/25   Japanese with a French Accent
A show traces what Nippon's painters took home from Paris

1987/12/21   Germany's Master in the Making
Anselm Kiefer paints dense works that rise to greatness

1987/12/14   Sharing the Poet's Obsession
A singular show explores the vision of English Romanticism

1987/12/07   Charles Demuth Amid the Silos
A new show reveals that he was more than a precursor of pop

1987/11/30   Blazing Exceptions to Nature
A huge London show evokes the world of medieval England

1987/11/09   Spectral Light, Anxious Dancers
The disquieting visions of Susan Rothenberg

1987/11/02   The Grand Maximalist
Frank Stella brings new life to abstract painting

1987/10/05   From the Dark Heart of Spain
A stronger - and weaker - Zurbaran opens at the Met

1987/09/21   Corn-Pone Cubism, Red-Neck Deco
Red Grooms' cartoony "ruckuses" are easy to like -- too easy

1987/08/24   Out of the Wall's Shadow
MOMA surveys the rebirth of modernism in postwar Berlin

1987/08/10   How to Start a Museum
Three U.S. collections go public, with mixed results

1987/07/13   Abstraction and Popeye's Biceps
The sweet, rambunctious paintings of Elizabeth Murray

1987/07/06   A Plain, Exalted Vision
For the young Republic in search of a style

1987/06/01   Too Much of a Medium-Good Thing in Washington
Andrew Wyeth's overhyped Helga pictures

1987/05/11   Navigating a Cultural Trough
For a change, the Whitney Biennial is not too bad

1987/04/27   Out of Grime, a Domain of Light
Cleaning the Sistine Chapel reveals a new Michelangelo

1987/04/13   Of Vincent and Eanum Pig
Spectacular sales in London and Geneva enshrine the new vulgarity

1987/04/06   Singular and Grand Britons
Modernism in London

1987/03/09   A Caterer of Repetition and Glut
Andy Warhol: 1928-1987

1987/02/09   Random Bits from the Image Haze
At the Whitney, the "appropriations" of painter David Salle

1987/02/02   Another Temple for Modernism
The Met's 20th century wing

1987/01/12   Pyramid Power in Paint
The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985 at the LACMA

1987/01/12   Getting on the Map
New money fuels Los Angeles' museum surge

1986/12/22   Design: Back to the Lost Future
A remarkable show revives the machine age, fins and all

1986/12/08   Out of a Grand Ruin, a Great Museum
Paris opens a showcase of 19th century works

1986/12/01   Sanity Defense for a Genius
The Metropolitan reveals Van Gogh's shocking freshness

1986/11/17   Inventing a Sensory Utopia
The paintings Matisse did in Nice include some of his best

1986/11/10   A Look at a Beautiful Impasse
Morris Louis' paintings embody the discourse of pure hue

1986/10/27   Tourist First Class
In New York, a major show of John Singer Sargent

1986/10/13   Time Recomposed of Shards
David Hockney's painterly photocollages in New York City

1986/09/15   The Sentinels of Nurture
Henry Moore: 1898-1986

1986/09/01   The Liberty of Thought Itself
In Paris, a big, provocative survey of modern sculpture

1986/08/11   Memories Scaled and Scrambled
In New York City, a survey of James Rosenquist

1986/08/04   "Kill the Moonlight!" They Cried
In Venice, a superb retrospective of the Futurists

1986/07/21   In London: A Visionary Maestro (Oskar Kokoschka)

1986/07/14   Egos, Kitsch and the Real Thing
With work from 41 nations, Venice opens its biggest Biennale

1986/06/09   The Tintoretto of the Peons
In Philadelphia, a long-awaited show of Diego Rivera

1986/05/26   Out of Gothic, into the Future
Veit Stoss's carvings are the revelation of a Nuremberg show

1986/04/21   The Truth in the Details
A rare show by the peerless realist Antonio Lopez Garcia

1986/04/14   The Rockwell of the Intelligentsia
At the Whitney, Alex Katz's stylish figure paintings

1986/03/31   Mixing Grandeur and Tattiness
At the Royal Academy, a retrospective of Sir Joshua Reynolds

1986/03/17   A Vision of Steely Finesse
Georgia O'Keeffe: 1887-1986

1986/02/24   Obliquely Addressing Nature
In New York, Terry Winters' stimulating one-man show

1986/02/10   Energy in Black and White
In Cincinnati, a retrospective of Franz Kline

1985/12/30   Fluent, Electric, Charming
Jennifer Bartlett's work provides a key to '80s taste

1985/12/23   Tracing the Underground Stream
In London, a major but uneven survey of German modernism

1985/11/11   Brideshead Redecorated
At the National Gallery, treasures from English country houses

1985/10/28   A Rich, Feisty Eventfulness
California's Wayne Thiebaud emerges as a leading U.S. realist

1985/09/09   The Urban Poet as a Scavenger
Kurt Schwitters' collages receive a long-overdue retrospective

1985/07/01   Singing within the Bloody Wood
At the Tate, a second celebration of Francis Bacon

1985/06/17   Careerism and Hype Amidst the Image Haze
American painters of the '80s are buffeted by cultural inflation

1985/06/03   The Trials of Tilted Arc
Richard Serra's unpopular work dramatizes the plight of public sculpture

1985/05/27   Slamming a Door on Tradition
Jean Dubuffet: 1901-1985

1985/05/06   Emblems of a Lost Tradition
In New York City, superb drawings from the Albertina collection

1985/04/22   Symbolist with Roller Skates
Francesco Clemente ranges unevenly from mystery to voyeurism

1985/03/25   Master of the Green Machine
MOMA's Rousseau exhibit reveals a depth of exotic formality

1985/03/11   Master of the Gesture
At the Metropolitan, Caravaggio's turbulent genius

1985/02/11   An Unfamiliar Michelangelo
Vatican restorations go on

1985/01/14   Psychological Realist in a Bad Age
In Los Angeles, Max Beckmann's images retain their power

Robert Hughes' Writings in The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books has 16 articles by Hughes in its online database. Access to the articles is not free; you have to register and subscribe at $4/week.

1995/02/16   Why Watch It, Anyway?

1993/10/21   The Medium Inquisitor (Clement Greenberg)

1993/03/04   Masterpiece Theater
Review of Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by Thomas Hoving

1992/04/23   Art, Morals, and Politics

1990/10/11   The Art of Frank Auerbach

1989/06/29   The Liberal Goya

1989/06/01   The Patron Saint of Neo-Pop (Jean Baudrillard)

1987/08/13   On Lucian Freud

1986/10/23   Something Fishy in the Hamptons
Review of Men's Lives: The Surfmen and Baymen of the South Fork, by Peter Matthiessen

1984/12/06   On Art and Money

1983/10/27   There's No Geist like the Zeitgeist

1982/02/18   The Rise of Andy Warhol

1980/01/24   HE WAS FRENCH

1979/12/20   Only in America (Bernard Berenson)

1978/12/21   Blue Chip Sublime

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