- 21 min
Robert J. Hughes is an Australian-American art critic. 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 of London” 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), which reviewed the history of American art since the Revolution.
Hughes’ 2002 documentary on the painter Francisco Goya, Goya: Crazy Like a Genius, was broadcast on the first night of the BBC’s domestic digital service, partly as a consequence of the high status Hughes’ documentaries have acquired with television audiences over the years.
Hughes published the first part of his memoirs, Things I Didn’t Know, in 2006.