Tuesday 7 August 2012

Completely Pointless

R.I.P. art critic Robert Hughes who died yesterday. Hughes performed the invaluable task of permitting us to distinguish good quality modern art from all the rubbish which pretends to be clever, sneers at people who don't "understand" it, but is in reality distinguished only by the fact that rich patsies pay good money for it. He was particularly ascerbic about Jeff Koons whose stuff really is just nonsense (see one example of his "iconic" - actually completely pointless - balloon dog sculptures above). And Damien Hirst's minders wouldn't let Hughes reproduce his stuff in a review for fear of exposure - actually Hughes didn't think the sharks-in-formaldehyde man all that bad but would certainly have had sharp things to say.

Hughes also wrote the definitive history of early (European) Australia The Fatal Shore which is strongly recommended summer reading - I flagged it two years ago here in a piece about the Welsh Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. I don't know if Hughes was Welsh by origin (sounds like it) but we should definitely claim him.