Robert Hughes On Nostalgia, Art and Solitude


The late Robert Hughes is best known perhaps for his wonderful television series on modern art The Shock of the New (available to watch in its entirety on UbuWeb). His writing may be slightly less well-known but it is no less brilliant; whether his studies of Goya, Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach, of Heaven and Hell in Western Art or his introduction to Barcelona, which made me fall in love with that glorious Catalan city before I’d set foot there. His brutal and haunting account of the birth of Australia The Fatal Shore and his highlighting of art, folklore and poetry such as Barcroft Boake’s Where the Dead Men Lie make Nick Cave, for one, seem not quite as atypical an Australian. Contrary to popular opinion, there were other Australias and they were dark.

I’ve recently been reading Hughes’ Things I Didn’t Know which, though I’d avoided it due to…

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