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American Visions: The Epic History of Art in…
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American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America (1997)

by Robert Hughes

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    The Shock of the New by Robert Hughes (misericordia)
    misericordia: If you like a practical approach to what art is or should be about.
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A well-written overview of the history of American art, from Puritan origins through civil war, growing prosperity, modernism, depression, war, and rampant capitalism at the end of the twentieth century. Hughes views much post-1980s art as market-hyped rubbish. He doesn't care for artists who lack technical drawing skills. He emphasises the importance of good artistic training, noting that art was bad when artists were untrained or when they had no good models to observe (such as the early days of the colonies). He chronicles the gradual shift of the art world epicentre from Paris to New York (and ultimately, beyond) over the course of the 'American Century'. He concludes that excessive capitalistic speculation has damaged the American art scene, perhaps irreparably. ( )
  questbird | Jul 16, 2012 |
A wonderful book by my favorite critic. Whether he is talking about the classicism of the post-revolutionary era, the landscapes of Cole and Church, the Abstract Expressionists, or the "art industry" of the 1980s, Hughes is passionate and knowledgeable, and his prose is crystal clear. ( )
  joe1402 | Feb 5, 2008 |
A delightful book every European with a cultural superiority complex should read. Written as you would explain the subject to an intelligent thirteen year old (I mean this as the highest form of compliment). ( )
  stefano | Jul 5, 2007 |
Robert Hughes is one of my favorite critics. Very knowledgable. ( )
  alyssa25 | Nov 7, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
Hughes has a gift for describing objects in an alert and critical way, and American Visions, with its discussions of altarpieces, headstones, pueblo architecture, Shaker furniture, Civil War memorials, Sargent portraits, New York City skyscrapers, Pollock drip paintings, Fifties Cadillacs, Warhol soup cans, and Bruce Nauman installations, is a virtuoso display. There is not a dull or redundant page, and there are 635 of them.
 
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679426272, Paperback)

Australian-born art critic Robert Hughes, author of the highly acclaimed study of modern art, The Shock of the New has made his home in the United States for the last 20 years. His latest undertaking, which he calls "a love letter to America," is his most massive: a 350-year history of art in America. Published in association with an eight-part PBS series of the same name, this is no scholarly text. With the same voracious wit and opinionated brilliance that have characterized his criticism for Time magazine, this tour-de-force spans three centuries of events, movements, and personalities that have shaped American society and its art. The reproductions are outstanding; 323 out of 365 are in rich, vivid color. Infinitely entertaining and perceptive, this superb book makes readers feel as if they have discovered a truer, hidden America. It seems certain to become one of the most important works in the art-historical canon.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:30 -0400)

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Packed with biographies, anecdotes, astute and stimulating critical commentary and sharp social history.

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