Nothing If Not Critical: Essays on Art and Artists
From Holbein to Hockney, from Norman Rockwell to Pablo Picasso, from sixteenth-century Rome to 1980s SoHo, Robert Hughes looks with love, loathing, warmth, wit and authority at a wide range of art and artists, good, bad, past and present.
As art critic for Time magazine, internationally acclaimed for his study of modern art, The Shock of the New, he is perhaps America’s most widely read and admired writer on art. In this book: nearly a hundred of his finest essays on the subject.
For the realism of Thomas Eakins to the Soviet satirists Komar and Melamid, from Watteau to Willem de Kooning to Susan Rothenberg, here is Hughes—astute, vivid and uninhibited—on dozens of famous and not-so-famous artists. He observes that Caravaggio was “one of the hinges of art history; there was art before him and art after him, and they were not the same”; he remarks that Julian Schnabel’s “work is to painting what Stallone’s is to acting”; he calls John Constable’s Wivenhoe Park “almost the last word on Eden-as-Property”; he notes how “distorted traces of [Jackson] Pollock lie like genes in art-world careers that, one might have thought, had nothing to do with his.” He knows how Norman Rockwell made a chicken stand still long enough to be painted, and what Degas said about success (some kinds are indistinguishable from panic).
Phrasemaker par excellence, Hughes is at the same time an incisive and profound critic, not only of particular artists, but also of the social context in which art exists and is traded. His fresh perceptions of such figures as Andy Warhol and the French writer Jean Baudrillard are matched in brilliance by his pungent discussions of the art market—its inflated prices and reputations, its damage to the public domain of culture. There is a superb essay on Bernard Berenson, and another on the strange, tangled case of the Mark Rothko estate. And as a finale, Hughes gives us “The SoHoiad,” the mock-epic satire that so amused and annoyed the art world in the mid-1980s.
A meteor of a book that enlightens, startles, stimulates and entertains.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - philipjohn - LibraryThing
Robert Hughes must be one of the finest users of language at work in the field of art criticism. His comments, whether you agree with them or not, are always a joy to read. Read full review
Nothing if not critical: selected essays on art and artistsUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
This collection brings together over 90 essays, many of which have already appeared in major journals. Hughes considers the Masters, 19th-century art and artists, the Modernist spirit, American and ... Read full review
France in the Golden Age
Anthony Van Dyck
Sir Joshua Reynolds
David Smith Sculptures
David Smith Drawings
Courbet in Brooklyn
John Singer Sargent
Van Gogh and Cloisonnism
Vincent van Gogh Part 1
Vincent van Gogh Part 2
Giorgio de Chirico
Henri Matisse in Nice
English Art in the Twentieth Century
Thomas Hart Benton
Deco and Fins
Mark Rothko in Babylon
R B Kitaj
Nam June Paik
Komar and Melamid
Requiem for a Featherweight
Willem de Kooning
From Bauhaus to Our House
Art and Money
orThe Masque of Art
A NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR