Shades of Hughes

It took me more time to put a handful of paragraphs together on favorite critic Robert Hughes and his unexpected revelation last Sunday than it usually takes me to write something for the newspaper. In part, this was because I had to run through his selection of essays again and then type up the passages I thought were on point; in part this was because I had to scour the Internet for images of the paintings discussed in the passages selected (I had to, I felt I had no choice); and in part this was because (and this was icewater-clear to me right from the beginning) my technical objective in writing "Out of the depths of free love and wild sex" was to imitate the conditions in which I had learned about his first wife’s spectacular indiscretions. In other words, I wanted to repeat what we can call (after Hughes himself, of course) the shock of the lewd. So much earnest erudition in his work, so much sweetness and light — and then this confession.

Oh. If you click on the images, you’ll get a bigger picture, literally.

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