A tribute to Robert Hughes
Making a documentary is an experience and a journey indeed. Before starting this journey, we look for information, guidance and inspiration. We have no right to miss the point and that is a daunting responsibility. One day, in our investigation, we discovered the Australian-born writer and art critic, Robert Hughes. His work enormously moved and inspired us. "Opening" is dedicated to his memory.
Robert Hughes (28 July 1938 – 6 August 2012) left Australia for Europe in 1964 - living for a time in Italy before settling in London in 1965 - where he wrote for "The Spectator", "The Daily Telegraph", "The Times" and "The Observer". In 1970, he was appointed art critic for "Time Magazine" and moved to New York, where he soon became an influential voice.
In 1980, Hughes co-produced in association with German producer Reiner Moritz and Lorna Pegram, the BBC eight-part series "The Shock of the New" on the development of modern art since the Impressionists. It was accompanied by a book with the same title. John O'Connor of "The New York Times" said, "Agree or disagree, you will not be bored. Mr. Hughes has a disarming way of being provocative."
Robert Hughes' book "The Fatal Shore" followed in 1987. A study of the British penal colonies and early European settlement of Australia, it became an international best-seller. His TV series "American Visions" (1997) reviewed the history of American art since the Revolution. "Australia: Beyond the Fatal Shore" (2000) was a series musing on modern Australia and Hughes' relationship with it. During production, Hughes was involved in a near-fatal road accident.
Robert Hughes' documentary on Francisco Goya, "Goya: Crazy Like a Genius" (2002), was broadcast on the first night of the new British domestic digital service, BBC Four. He created a one-hour update to "The Shock of the New", titled "The New Shock of the New", which first aired in 2004. In 2006, he published the first volume of his memoirs, "Things I Didn’t Know", and in 2009, Oxford Film and Television for Channel 4 (UK) released "The Mona Lisa Curse".
Robert Hughes didn’t belong to a particular philosophical camp. Raising criticism to the level of art, his writing was noted for its power and elegance. In 1997, Robert Hughes was described by Robert Boynton of "The New York Times" as "the most famous art critic in the world."
"The Spectacle of Skill", new and selected writings of Robert Hughes, compiled in collaboration with Knopf Publications and his wife, Doris Downes, was released in 2015.