NEW YORK (AP).- Renowned Australian art critic and historian Robert Hughes has died after a long illness. He was 74.
His publisher, Random House, says he died Monday in New York, where he had lived for many years.
Hughes was best known for his bestselling epic book about Australia called "The Fatal Shore," published in 1987. He wrote for Time magazine as art critic for more than three decades.
His eight-part documentary about art history, "The Shock of the New," aired on BBC television and was seen by more than 25 million viewers. He later wrote a book based off the film that was well-received by critics.
Hughes left Australia for Europe in 1964, living for a time in Italy before settling in London (1965) where he wrote for The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and The Observer, among others, and contributed to the London version of Oz. In 1970 he obtained the position of art critic for TIME magazine and he moved to New York, where he quickly established himself as an influential art critic. In 1975, along with Don Brady, he provided the narration for the film Protected, a documentary showing what life was like for Indigenous Australians on Palm Island.
Hughes and Harold Hayes were recruited in 1978 to anchor the new ABC News (US) news magazine 20/20. His only broadcast, on 6 June 1978, proved so controversial that, less than a week later, ABC News president Roone Arledge terminated the contracts of Hughes and Hayes, replacing them with veteran TV host Hugh Downs. The BBC broadcast The Shock of the New, broadcast Hughes's 1980 television series on the development of modern art since the Impressionists. It was accompanied by a book of the same name; its combination of insight, wit and accessibility are still widely praised.
He published The Fatal Shore in 1987. A study of the British penal colonies and early European settlement of Australia, it became an international best-seller. During the late 1990s, he was a prominent supporter of the Australian Republican Movement. Hughes provided criticism on the work of artist Robert Crumb in parts of the 1994 film Crumb, calling Crumb "the American Breughel". His 1997 television series American Visions reviewed the history of American art since the Revolution. Australia: Beyond the Fatal Shore (2000) was a series musing on modern Australia and Hughes's relationship with it. During production, Hughes was involved in the near-fatal road accident detailed in the next section. Hughes's 2002 documentary on Francisco Goya, Goya: Crazy Like a Genius, was broadcast on the first night of the BBC's domestic digital service. He created a one hour update to The Shock of the New. Titled The New Shock of the New, the program aired first in 2004. He published the first volume of his memoirs, Things I Didn’t Know, in 2006.
With information from wikipedia.org
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.