Seven Art Lessons Learned from Robert Hughes (1938-2012)

Art critic, writer, and documentary maker Robert Hughes was celebrated for his authoritative voice and ability to explain and critique the inspirations and direction of art movements.

Hughes contributed to The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, and Time Magazine, where he served as chief art critic. His successful eight-part documentary "The Shock of the New" examined the art world from modernism from the Impressionists through Warhol and was seen by more than 25 million BBC viewers.

Hughes criticized a generation of artists and inspired another generation of emerging creatives to venture into the art world. He died yesterday at 74. Here are (just) seven art lessons he left behind:  

7. "The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is given to the less talented as a consolation prize."

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6. "I love art that is really fully embodied, that has a somatic character, not art that has some kind of academic, post-structuralist simper."

5. "In art there is no progress, only fluctuations of intensity."

4. "Can it be that the artist who paints flowers starts at a disadvantage? Almost certainly. To many people botanical subjects seem not altogether serious.. a kind of pictorial relaxation, an easy matter compared to landscape or the human figure."

3. "Duchamp is a hugely overrated artist. Duchamp was the first artist who really became a great master at the art of curating his own reputation. Other artists had done it before, but Duchamp was the first modernist artist to do it."

2. "Drawing never dies, it holds on by the skin of its teeth, because the hunger it satisfies.. the desire for an active, investigative, manually vivid relation with the things we see and yearn to know about.. is apparently immortal."

1. "Most of the time they buy what other people buy. They move in great schools, like bluefish, all identical. There is safety in numbers. If one wants Schnabel, they all want Schnabel, if one buys a Keith Haring, two hundred Keith Harings will be sold."

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