To set out to produce an entire special issue of TIME with a writing staff of one would seem the sheerest folly. But if the focus of the issue is American art and the writer is Robert Hughes, then it begins to look like wisdom. For nobody comes to the subject better primed than Hughes. He has observed the U.S. art scene firsthand since becoming TIME's art critic in 1970. Three years ago, he embarked on a historical, eight-part TV series about it, also called American Visions, which is airing on pbs from May 28 to June 18. In conjunction with...

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