Birth Date: 1938
Birth Place: Australia
Lives Today: New York, New York
Biography: Robert Studley Forrest Hughes (born 1938), usually known simply as Robert Hughes, OA is an Australian art critic, writer, documentary broadcaster and republican (anti-monarchist). He resides in New York. Hughhes comes from a distinguished and well-connected Australian family -- his older brother is the leading Australian lawyer and former federal Attorney-General, T.E.F. (Tom) Hughes AO, QC, and his niece Lucy Turnbull (Tom's daughter), a former Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney, is married to leading Australian businesman and politican Malcolm Turnbull.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Hughes was educated at St Ignatius' College before going on to study arts and architecture at the University of Sydney in 1956. During this time Hughes made a name for himself within the Sydney "Push" -- a progressive group of artists, writers, intellectuals and drinkers. Among the group were two other blazingly witty and incisive cultural observers: Germaine Greer and Clive James. Hughes left university before graduating after being commissioned to write a history of Australian painting, The Art of Australia, while still an undergraduate. It was published in 1966. In the early Sixties Hughes was briefly involved in the original Sydney version of Oz magazine and he also wrote art criticism for The Nation and The Sunday Mirror .
He left Australia for London, England in 1965, where he wrote for such publications as The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and The Observer, and contributed to London Oz. He landed the position of art critic for TIME magazine in 1970, and he quickly established himself as a respected and influential art critic.
In 1981 he made a landmark TV series on modern art entitled The Shock Of The New. In 1987 he published another landmark book, The Fatal Shore, a critical study of the British invasion/settlement of Australia and its devastating impact on Aboriginal societies, which became an international best-seller.
In 1988 he attracted controversy for rubbishing an exhibition of new work by the much regarded neo-expressionist painter Julian Schnabel. At the time it was widely accepted that critics had a supine relationship with galleries and artists and Hughes attack greatly affected Schnabel's reputation. Family tragedy visited upon Hughes in April 2001 when his sculptor son Danton, aged 33, committed suicide in Australia.
Hughes has continued to write for TIME magazine, although his contributions became less frequent after a serious vehicle accident in outback Australia in 1998. After a day out fishing Hughes was driving alone when his vehicle collided head on with a truck. Hughes was in a coma for several weeks and had no memory of the crash. A case was brought against the drivers of the other vehicle but only limited damages were given. Hughes created further controversy when allegedly racist remarks he made about the Asian-Australian judge became public.