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Australia: Beyond the Fatal Shore Robert Hughes
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Robert Hughes
Writer and Host

Robert Hughes, art critic of TIME magazine for the last 30 years and author of 16 books to date, is by far the best-known, most esteemed, and widely read art critic writing in English today. He has made dozens of TV documentaries, mainly for the BBC and other English production companies, since the mid-1960s. He first became known to a large television audience in 1981 as the creator and host of the much-acclaimed history series on modern art THE SHOCK OF THE NEW. This was seen by 26 million public TV viewers in the U.S., and by comparable audiences in Britain and his native Australia. His 1997 series on American art and architecture, AMERICAN VISIONS, received equal attention and acclaim. In that year, his achievements as a cultural broadcaster were recognized by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which bestowed its most prestigious award on him, The Richard Dimbleby Award, for "the most important personal contribution to factual television" of 1996-97.

In 2000, Mr. Hughes was honored by the LONDON SUNDAY TIMES as Writer of the Year (previous recipients of the award include Anthony Burgess, Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, and Salman Rushdie). His work as a cultural historian has been honored by the Archives of American Art, and by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which elected him to membership in 1996. He is the only art critic to have twice won America's most coveted award for art criticism, the Frank Jewett Mather Award, given by the College Art Association.

Born in 1938, Mr. Hughes grew up in Australia, but has lived in Europe and America since 1964. He has never lost touch with his native country, where his family has lived since 1837; he remains an Australian citizen who spends one to three months a year in his homeland. In recognition of his services to Australian culture, he was elected an Officer in the Order of Australia (his country's highest civilian honor) in 1994. He was also, by a general vote conducted by the Australian media on behalf of the Australian National Trust, elected one of 40 "living national treasures" in 1997.

His books include the international best-seller THE FATAL SHORE (1987), a history of the colonization of Australia as a convict settlement; THE SHOCK OF THE NEW (1981); an award-winning collection of essays on art and artists, NOTHING IF NOT CRITICAL (1991); BARCELONA, a cultural-political "biography" of the great Spanish city, which won the El Brusi prize at the Barcelona Cultural Olympiad in 1992; THE CULTURE OF COMPLAINT (1995); and others. His most recent work is an essay on fishing, A JERK ON ONE END: REFLECTIONS OF A MEDIOCRE FISHERMAN (1998).

Robert Hughes lives in New York City and Long Island.

Interview with Robert Hughes



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