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The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change [Paperback]

Robert Hughes
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 24.95
Price: 16.97 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Sep 1991
An illustrated 100-year history of modern art, from cubism to pop and avant-guard. .

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The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change + The Story of Art + Ways of Seeing (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd; Enlarged edition edition (2 Sep 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500275823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500275825
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 20.3 x 27.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Hughes was born in Australia in 1938 and has lived in Europe and the United States since 1964. Since 1970 he has worked in New York as an art critic for Time Magazine. He has twice received the Franklin Jeweer Mather Award for Distinguished Criticism from the College Art Association of America.

Product Description


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


`You will refer back to these precious books again and again'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Robert Hughes has written a very readable and extremely informative introduction to developments in 20th century art. This illustrated book was originally written to accompany a TV series of the same name. Whilst focusing primarily on art, neither architecture nor design are overlooked. The social, political and economic contexts of artistic development (such as the impact of war and totalitarianism) are not forgotten - as the subtitle "art and the century of change" suggests. Any person interested in modern art (and the contexts leading to emergence of styles) will enjoy and ought to read this book.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, and for good reason 19 Aug 2004
By A Customer
Hughes has the gift of producing an extraordinarily well turned phrase that, without being needlessly complex, can encapsulate a big idea with ease. Where better to employ such a skill than in explaining the history of modern art? 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 that for many key art movements this was a practical task of vital importance. To bring that vitality and immediacy back through the well-chosen example and well-turned phrase is the heart of this book's success. Hughes expresses views with which other art historians may disagree, but this book is perhaps the best way into the subject as a whole.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange stories from the land of modern art 1 July 2009
By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER
It's been over a week now since I finished this and I'm still arguing, or at least discussing, with Hughes in my head, many of the issues arising directly and indirectly from my reading. I am very familiar with many of the reproductions in this book from my University days, when this was a set text for my then Girlfriend's Art History course. I have a vague recollection of seeing some of the TV programmes too, which lamentably do not appear to be released on DVD.

Recent animated discussions on the Amazon classical music forum have awakened an interest in general 20th Century Cultural History, one aspect of which is consideration of the visual arts. Browsing for a general book to bring me up to speed on these matters I found that this was still, over twenty years later, the book to go for.

Before all else I have to praise Hughes' prose which is poetic and poetically informed without being remotely limp-wristed or pretentious as so much writing on art is. It is vigorously intelligent without being elitist or esoteric, and has a robust common-sense quality even when discussing the most abstract considerations, bringing the issues vividly to life.

Hughes does not attempt to present a unified narrative of the subject but rather identifies a selection of broad themes, which he then pursues more or less chronologically, and and with each of which he associates a group of more or less representative artists, some well known but a few less well known. In general more text is devoted to the early half of the century than thw latter.

Thus, for instance, the theme of the first chapter is the impact of burgeoning technology on society and the response of artists to it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars intelligent 3 Oct 2008
A set text in art schools this will help you see where art students get all their original ideas from, The SOTN is an excellent book, not light reading but weighty intelligent and written with all the gusto and opinion that Robert Hughes appraoches everything. Excellent stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic 17 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Funnily enough I purchased the book just after the death of the author and the release of the archive film documentaries the book is based on. So I could read and watch at the same time which only increased the value of the books content.
The author has a unique writing style which can be a little verbose is easily absorbed, the content and critique is excellent, he is not afraid of giving opinion. Many art books are just glorified lists of prominent artists of each "ism" giving a brief outline of each movement, its mandate, a few photographs of the most well known paintings, then onto the next "ism". The Shock of the New is a very good read, it would help if the BBC produced the Documentary on DVD so you could read and watch a the same time
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 3 Jun 2001
This book is absolutely great to read and provides a critical understanding of the course of modern art, not so much in a chronological sense but relating each art currents and/or artists to present a clearer idea on its background and concepts. A very pleasant reading whilst raising issues that make the reader rethink the reasons behind each significant art moment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shock of the New 17 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent book, with clear concise writing and proper colour plates, Only sorry I missed the TV series that it accompanies
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Valery Koroshilov VINE VOICE
Although this text focuses mainly on art, as the title suggests, a great deal of important issues concerned with design and architecture are also covered. Well illustrated, it was written for "THE SHOCK OF THE NEW" TV series. Highly informative, not overwhelming, well structured, it's an excellent source of introductory material for everyone who is interested in the styles and movements of the 20th century art, and the contexts (political, economic and social) which formed the art developments. Robert Hughes's writing style matches the subject perfectly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Art
This is the definitive book for anyone who thinks that modern art is a big fraud. The author had the courage to be the first to say so.
A modern classic.
Published 2 months ago by David Berg
5.0 out of 5 stars Shock of the New
I have loved this book since the early 80s. It is exceptionally well written and very informative. It tells you a great deal about 20th Century art and how art develop over the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chris Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading
This is of course a most useful book for any student of art. Easy to read and understand. It arrived very quickly and in mint condition
Published 10 months ago by Ayodele Mcdowell
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic Book
Robert Hughes has written an enchanting text taking one through changes in art in the 20th Century. Beautifully illustrated and a really good read.
Published 13 months ago by Hunter Devine
5.0 out of 5 stars Like new
Delivery great and quality was too. I'm gonna buy another one. I bought Hughes autobiog and is an amazing insight into an amazing man :)
Published 15 months ago by Roberto
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine readable account of the changes that have occurred in art over...
Robert Hughes book is a well researched account of the changes that have taken place in art over the last century. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Bob A
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy reading and nice illustrations.
The illustrations prompted by the text were the most informative element of this work. It is perfect for the coffee table and will blast the visitors right out of it. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mr. Finbar Gallagher
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shock of the New/ Robert Hughes
This was bought for my son who had requested it and he was very happy to get it and I was happy as I knew that it was something he actaully wanted.
Published 19 months ago by James Campbell
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