By Robert Hughes
An illustrated 100-year background of recent paintings, from cubism to pop and avant-guard. .
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Regardless of; we're used to the conventions of print copy of artistic endeavors, and an analogous will take place with tv as extra arts programming is completed. in addition to, the good advantage of television is its strength to speak enthusiasm, and that's why i love it. it's not that i am a thinker, yet a journalist who has had the nice success by no means to be bored via his topic. “Je resous de m’informer du pourquoi,” Baudelaire wrote after seeing Tannhäuser in 1860, “et de transformer ma volupté en connaissance”: “I got down to notice the why of it, and to remodel my excitement into wisdom. ” excitement is the basis of all serious appreciation of artwork, and there's not anything like an extended, regular venture to make one detect (and with good fortune, exhibit) what it was once within the siren voices of our century that stuck me as a boy – whilst I first learn Roger Shattuck’s translations of Apollinaire, hidden from the Jesuits within the wrapper of a Latin grammar – and hasn't ever permit me cross. observe TO 1991 version Books have their destiny, and this one has been fortunate adequate to last longer than ten years – definitely lots longer than the tv sequence on which it was once dependent. meanwhile, i must confess, the passion for television as a method of conveying info and opinion concerning the visible arts that I felt whereas making the unique sequence of The surprise of the recent has waned. with out accepting the extraordinary view of neo-conservative American critics like Hilton Kramer – that every thing that may be proven or stated approximately paintings on television is a pernicious lie – I now realize that the confident desire I set forth above, that during a way the distortions of the paintings inherent in television copy might stop to topic, as they principally have in print replica, has became out to be fallacious. The want was once father to the concept. by way of stressing the enduring content material of artwork, by means of forcing photographs intended to be slowly reflected into purely narrative frames, and hence enforcing the quick time of television at the sluggish time of portray and sculpture; by way of taking away floor, texture, aspect, and real color, by way of operating opposed to the resistant actual presence and scale of the murals, and chiefly by way of the short attention-span it encourages, television – even within the palms of the main sympathetic director – can't build a passable parallel to the adventure of the static paintings. this might no longer topic in a tradition that didn't confuse television with truth. regrettably, the US does. however the fuller fact approximately artwork is in museums, studios, galleries, and books, and can't be geared up at the display. however, my unique gratitude to these with whom I labored at the unique creation of The surprise of the recent continues to be unchanged: to Lorna Pegram, who produced the sequence and directed 3 of its 8 programmes besides; to its different 3 administrators, David Cheshire, Robin Lough, and David Richardson; and to Robert McNab, who did the image and movie study. The BBC insisted at the surprise of the hot because the sequence identify, and that i stay thankful to my buddy Ian Dunlop, whose first-class examine of 7 old modernist exhibitions used to be released less than that name in 1972, for letting us use it.