Influential Art Critic Robert Hughes Dies Aged 74

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The man who changed the way we think and talk about modern art, the Australian critic Robert Hughes, has died.

Hughes passed away in hospital in New York after a long illness aged 74.

His wife Doris released a statement saying: "He had been very ill for some time... Details of the funeral and memorial service will be advised in due course".

Born in Sydney, Hughes travelled to Europe in the 1960s and began his career as a journalist, writing for the Daily Telegraph, Times and Spectator before becoming the art critic for Time magazine in New York.

He would later become best known in the UK for his 1980 TV series Shock Of The New and its accompanying book, both of which were widely praised for offering an accessible and witty guide to modern art.

Seven years later he wrote an international bestseller called The Fatal Shore that explored the history of his homeland. It evoked the harsh living conditions faced by convicts during early European settlement in Australia.

Outspoken until the end, in 2008 he made a one-off polemic documentary called The Mona Lisa Curse that traced the rise of the commercial art market and criticized the work of Damien Hirst. It won an International Emmy Award.

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