Hughes was one of those big, bold, Jesuitical, learned men of the arts whom we sorely need and miss. This book, and the series on which it is based, is crammed with Hughes’ invariably wise, precise and yet loving take on American Art. He took up a role as Time’s art critic in 1970 and those who are old enough to have actually read Time recall his brilliant and generally fair opinions on the world of contemporary art.
This wonderful review is as good as his seminal The Shock of the New but wiser and less hurried. If you want an introduction to American visual art – paint, buildings, statues, etc., this is it. Hughes loved America as any man or woman of intelligence, with a little cash, will love America – full of good people and good things, aching to do good and full of ignorant curiosity.
But he brings an olde worlde sensibility to the new world’s sensitvity and makes something new to shock and delight us. A great book and series – Robert, even though you were on occasion an opinionated nincompoop – we love you, and miss you.