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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
Duffy & Snellgrove
Art, religion and the dream of modernism.
Andrew Riemer was friends with Robert Hughes at university in the late 1950s. Here he looks at how Hughes' education by the Jesuits in Sydney has, despite Hughes' vigorous rejection of Catholicism, influenced and strengthened his work as a critic, bot of art and of culture more generally.
This is also a book about the dream and the death of modernism. Like many of his generation, Hughes searched in modernism for the continuation of traditional, often spiritual, values by new means. But by the time Hughes reached New York - the centre of modernism - the movement was almost dead, and what came after it was often shallow. Hughes' disappointment, Riemer suggests, was bitter, and accounts for the tenor of some of his subsequent writing.