A Letter From the Publisher: Jun. 17, 1985

"Critics need to remember what a struggle painting is." That sympathetic view comes from TIME's art critic, Robert Hughes, who this week offers a provocative assessment of contemporary U.S. art. Hughes is eminently qualified for his subject. He was the creator and host of the 1981 eight-part PBS series The Shock of the New: The Life and Death of Modern Art, and its forthcoming sequel, American Visions. In addition, he is a two-time winner of the prestigious Frank Jewett Mather Award for distinction in art criticism.

But Hughes also knows the craft firsthand. He began his professional life in his native...

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