Robert Hughes' "The Shock of the New"
May 22, 2012 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Shock of the New is a 1980 documentary television series by Robert Hughes produced by the BBC in association with Time-Life Films and RM Productions. ... It addressed the development of modern art since the Impressionists and was accompanied by a book of the same name; its combination of insight, wit and accessibility are still widely praised. - Wikipedia posted by Trurl (18 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
Oh wow!
This transports me back to art school in the 80's.
This is truly a wonderful series.
Thanks for digging this up.
posted by DonnyMac at 7:35 PM on May 22, 2012

Somehow I read the book and had no idea there was a video too, thanks!
posted by PaulaSchultz at 7:37 PM on May 22, 2012

Yes, this was really fine series. I came to view art in a number new ways. Which, of course, was Hughes' point. Today, decades later, I find I look at, say a piece of architecture, and find myself reflecting on Hughes' observations.
posted by SPrintF at 8:30 PM on May 22, 2012

Jesus, people, I'm only halfway through the Nicolas Jaar set. Can't we stop posting for a little while?
posted by gwint at 8:48 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ah, and with nostalgia for "The Shock of the New," you've won your place in postmodernism, my lad.
posted by converge at 9:07 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Marvelous--I loved these when they showed up on the PBS station here about 1981 or so.
posted by gimonca at 9:12 PM on May 22, 2012

The Critic Laughs. By Hamilton!
posted by gimonca at 9:26 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I found this to be quite fascinating when I first watched it. One thing I liked was that Hughes wasn't afraid to say that something was pretentious trash. Which mainly happened in the last couple episodes.

I have no idea whether anyone else had this reaction, but the overall story of the series was about something that started really well, with a lot of interesting ideas, and produced a lot of wonderful stuff -- and then ran out of steam and coasted for about 30 years, becoming more and more derivative and intellectually/artistically bankrupt.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:16 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes, Robert Hughes is intellectually bankrupt. A man on a website (because it's always a man) told me.
posted by Wolof at 11:32 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you're going to link to old Shock of the New episodes, I believe custom requires you to also link to Berger's Ways of Seeing.
posted by pracowity at 12:47 AM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Chocolate Pickle, I didn't have that reaction.
posted by ciderwoman at 2:35 AM on May 23, 2012

My copy of the book long ago fell into dozens of facsicles from a combination of heavy reading and poor binding glue, so I don't have it for reference, but my memory of its narrative arc matches that of Chocolate Pickle.
posted by Trurl at 5:20 AM on May 23, 2012

Dude - dude dude dude. I made an LJ post recently because... Lemme see...
someone posted on mefi about something being "shocking" and then the memory of a distant book or something "The Shock of the New" came up in my brain, and so I googled, and it's apparently a documentary on the modern art movement.

Did we watch this in art class or something? Because how the fuck did I know that phrase?
posted by symbioid at 7:14 AM on May 23, 2012

That was May 16. GET OUT OF MY HEAD!
posted by symbioid at 7:14 AM on May 23, 2012

Things I Didn't Know, Robert Hughes memoir of his early life, is a marvellous read.
posted by Huw at 10:58 AM on May 23, 2012

the overall story of the series

Not sure where you're going with this--does this mean that modern art 'ran out of steam', and that's what the series is saying? Or does it mean that the series itself ran out of steam?
posted by gimonca at 12:44 PM on May 23, 2012

Okay, that voice, that accent - I thought BBC? No, he's Australian. And it turns out he went to school about 10k from where I lived for the last 10 years. That's all.
posted by b33j at 2:24 PM on May 23, 2012

Thanks for posting this.

It's a rare treat to watch and to hear snippets of Brian Eno's Thursday Afternoon in Episode 4.
posted by quidividi at 6:57 AM on June 6, 2012

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