Robert Hughes’ landmark BBC TV series and book The Shock of the New, more than 40 years old, became a seminal text for art history students and modern art enthusiasts. But a lot has happened in the intervening years. Does its assessment of modern art stand up to scrutiny today? Or has the moment come to question some of the assumptions that underpin Hughes’ argument? Will Gompertz, the Barbican Centre’s artistic director and a Hay Festival 2023 Thinker in Residence, discusses this famous text with Gus Casely-Hayford, cultural historian and director of V&A East, Veronica Ryan, winner of the Turner Prize 2022, and Shanay Jhaveri, head of visual arts at the Barbican.