About the artist:
Peter Plagens is an American artist, art critic, and novelist based in New York City. He is most widely known for his longstanding contributions to Artforum and Newsweek as a senior writer and art critic from 1989–2003, and for what critics have called a remarkably consistent, five-decade-long body of abstract formalist painting. Plagens has written three books on art, Bruce Nauman: The True Artist, Moonlight Blues: An Artist's Art Criticism and Sunshine Muse: Modern Art on the West Coast, 1945-70, and two novels, The Art Critic and Time for Robo. He has been awarded major fellowships for both his painting and his writing . Plagens's work has been featured in surveys at the Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Whitney Museum, and PS1, and in solo exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Las Vegas Art Museum. In 2004, the USC Fisher Gallery organized and held a 30-year traveling retrospective of his work. Critics have contrasted the purely visual dialogue his art creates—often generating more questions than answers—with the directness of his writing; they also contend that the visibility of his bylines as a critic has sometimes overshadowed his artmaking—unduly. Los Angeles Times critic David Pagel described Plagens's painting as a "fusion of high-flying refinement and everyday awkwardness" with an intellectual savvy, disdain for snobbery and ungainliness he likened to Willem de Kooning's work. Reviewing Plagens's 2018 exhibition, New York Times critic Roberta Smith called the show an "eye-teasing sandwich of contrasting formalist strategies," the hard-won result of a decade of focused experimentation.