Art critic Robert Hughes, who was 74 years old when he died in August, will be remembered on Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, The New York Times reports. Friends and fellow writers and critics slated to give remarks include Tina Brown, Leon Wieseltier, Peter Carey, Peter Matthiessen, Simon Schama and Michael Kimmelman. Jeremy Denk will do a piano performance.
This would be a good time to revisit Anthony Haden-Guest’s piece Remembering Robert Hughes 1938-2012, which gives a personal reflection on the critic who was as well known for his colorful tirades against contemporary artists for Time magazine as he was for his polemic documentaries.
From Mr. Haden-Guest’s piece:
I write above that Hughes had a painter’s eye. This is exact. He had been a painter and a working cartoonist before he left Australia in his 20s, but he never spoke of this; I have never seen the art and no one has ever described it to me, so this non-career may be irrelevant. But one thing is sure. With the rise of the art world of the ’80s—the power, the money, the Vanity Fair profiles—Bob Hughes took off on a flamboyantly adversarial course. For years he had derided Hilton Kramer—writing of his “industrial-strength prose”—but now, oddly, they were fighting the same fight. Which was against much of the more interesting new art.
Andy Warhol was one target. I was told at the time that Hughes’s piece about “the white mole of Union Square,” which was published in The New York Review of Books, was one of the few attacks that actually shook Warhol, usually a veteran at absorbing negative energy. Other targets, like Julian Schnabel and David Salle, were attacked both in full-pagers in Time and in the “SoHoiad,” an elegant Alexander Popesque diatribe in rhyming hexameters, also published in The New York Review of Books (Mr. Salle becomes “David Silly” and Tony Shafrazi “the squat vandal”). He memorialized Jean-Michel Basquiat, an artist he considered a particularly meritless success, with a piece in The New Republic titled “Requiem for a Featherweight.”
Come out and share your own memories of Hughes as the memorial will be open to the public.
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