As a teenager in the 1980’s and being introduced to Robert Hughes voluminous book “SHOCK OF THE NEW”, i remember how quickly it became enshrined upon educational bookshelves, proudly placed next to Gardener’s Art through the Ages. His television series I visually enjoyed, which followed his continent hopping with its insertion of archival footage, artist interviews and panoramic sweeps of museums. Whilst i have never enjoyed all artists, styles and art works, through the series and the book I learnt to appreciate them on various levels, some i still deem weak, silent, unskilled and laughable and yet this was before the Jeff Koons and Robert Hirst’s of the world came to attention, how greatly things have changed.
In the last moments of Shock of the new there is a hint of positivity toward arts credibility in Hughes words, however this is over shadowed by his perceptions on the “decline and fragmentation of modernism, the institutionalization of art; art as a marketable commodity, opposed by the mute, unsalable presence of conceptual art, earthworks and body art; and the death of the idea of the art movement as such.” Here actually began Robert Hughes premise, his looking backwards, perhaps a by product of his age, as we all do succumb to such time after time, in effect i feel Hughes lamentation and this becomes his drive, he has become indignant, his lament over what was once, what could have been, what is and what is not!
That world of art or the ART SCENE as we call it, is largely irrelevant, as it has little to nothing to say and adds so scarce a morsel to society in general that it is but a back drop to a product, that its value is in its price and not its work, that it’s being has been possessed by the evils of a commercial beast and fails to impart the hopes and fibre of what is needed today, for all its hype, grandeur and self-importance art lays languid and impotent!
Art however in the hands of the less auction house bound few is alive and well, but for most you will have to open a book to see it or go to the free sections in your capital Art Galleries or even better yet the darker corners of cultural art in museums, such sadly placed artifacts indeed!
I believe Robert Hughes crusade to be a righteous one perhaps, one in which Germain Greers head should remain promptly reposed and silent, let Robert have his final charge, we need it!
The rest of the series here <<<