“ROBERT Hughes, the famously opinionated and occasionally pugnacious art critic, has been remembered as a role model for others in his profession.

Hughes, who has died in New York at the age of 74, was a former art critic for Time magazine and the author of more than a dozen books, including his popular account of contemporary art, The Shock of the New.

Sebastian Smee, Pulitzer prize-winning art critic for The Boston Globe, said Hughes “combined incredible descriptive prowess with a sense of the wider currents of history”. The Australian


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This is quite an extraordinary loss. I couldn’t begin to articulate the impact Hughes had on my understanding of the relationships between Art History, Art Criticism and the global machine in which the artist is but another cog. Hughes redefined for me what it is to be articulate and honestly observant whilst maintaining the ability to lay it out in simple language that could reach a wider audience than his highbrow contemporaries. With quintessential Australian dryness and wit Hughes cut through the garbage that’s become so common place in Art writing and commentary. I for one will certainly miss his keen, refreshing intellect and vision.

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