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The Shock of the New

Art and the Century of Change

Robert Hughes


'The definitive book on 20th-century art and design' Creative Review


This legendary book has been universally hailed as the best, the most readable and the most provocative account of modern art ever written.

Through each of the thematic chapters Hughes keeps his story grounded in the history of the 20th century, demonstrating how modernism sought to describe the experience of that era and showing how for many key art movements this was a task of vital importance.

The way in which Hughes brings that vitality and immediacy back through the well-chosen example and well-turned phrase is the heart of this book's success.

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'Robert Hughes is the best of guides, enthusiastic, astringent … neither smug nor condescending'

'Teeming with ideas … an enormously enjoyable account of the state of play between art and society'
The Times

'Takes the stuffing out of the subject where and when it can'
The Spectator

'A genuine landmark, presenting the story of 20th-century art with unparalleled immediacy'
Elle Decoration

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Edition Type: Updated and enlarged edition

Size: 27.6 x 20.2 cm

Extent: 448 pp

Illustrations: 269

Publication date: 2 September 1991

ISBN: 9780500275825

About the Author

Robert Hughes (1938 – 2012) was an Australian-born art critic, writer, and producer of television documentaries.