Nothing if not critical …

"The Art Critic", by Normal Rockwell

“The Art Critic”, by Normal Rockwell

The death of writer and television personality Robert Hughes in 2012 was an event that did not exactly shake western civilization to its roots. His television shows “The Shock of the New” (1980) and “American Visions” (1997) had brought him some fame in the rarefied air of the BBC/PBS universe, but despite a long and wide-ranging career – he penned an  overview of the early European colonization of his native Australia, he contributed to an array of newspapers and magazines, and he even hosted (for one week, before being replaced by Hugh Downs) the ABC television news magazine “20/20” – to most people outside the art world he was almost unknown at the time of his death.

With or without fame, in his views on art Robert Hughes was passionate, pompous, often obnoxious, but he was also unfailingly erudite and articulate, and he left us more aware and better-informed than he found us. Continue reading

Everybody’s a Critic.

“Um, excuse me: did you know your zipper was undone?”

In a recent post in this blog I made some comments critical of the Obama administration’s policies toward official transparency and truthfulness in government, comments which have been interpreted as negative toward the administration as a whole. Yes, my observations were critical, but as we move into the silliness and bombast of this year’s general election, I think it’s very important to remember just what “critical” really means. Continue reading