January 15, 1988 |
In his heart, Peter Plagens has always wanted to be a painter. A confirmed formalist, he writes--in a statement prepared for his current show--of pursuing an "elusive grail" for 25 years. But the former Los Angeles artist, now living in New York, had such a flair for writing that he became best known as a controversial critic.
September 18, 2011
1945: Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thriller "Spellbound" opens, with memorable dream sequences by Salvador Dalí. 1946: Bassist and composer Charles Mingus, who grew up in Watts, records with his band the Stars of Swing. The recordings, now lost,anticipated the next decade's influential West Coast jazz sound. 1946: Theodor Geisel, who writes children's books under the pen name Dr. Seuss, moves to Hollywood to work for Warner Bros. 1947: Beginning of organized resistance to Modernism and abstraction in art as well as the beginning of "the painting witch hunt," in the words of art historian Peter Plagens.
December 20, 1999 |
We examine the dust jacket. No blurb on the front flap. A bold refusal to offer any kind of come-on, summary, or explanation of the book's contents? Not quite: The back of the dust jacket has the usual praise and precis, in this case inviting us to compare the book with "Gravity's Rainbow" and "Slaughterhouse Five."
May 25, 1993 |
Cultural Politics: A legal affair that has stunned the art world will be the subject of "The Politics of Culture" today at 12:25 p.m. on KCRW (89.9 FM).
July 31, 1994
I have always enjoyed Peter Plagens' fanciful and witty writing. But I have never considered his opinions the definitive statement of contemporary art history. I'd like to expand on his use of the theater, cast-of-characters and basketball metaphors in his article on Bruce Nauman ("An Artist and His Roots," July 17): The first act of my play would be over in an instant. Donald Judd and Ed Kienholz would be dead. Bruce Nauman, his retrospective over, would fade away and disappear in a neon-lit stage.
July 17, 1994
In Los Angeles, art's first generation spanned the late 1950s to the early 1970s. First there was Assemblage, Pop and the Light and Space artists in Venice. Then there was Bruce Nauman. The first group included many artists--among them Billy Al Bengston, Ed Ruscha, Robert Irwin and James Turrell--who defined a clean, serene image of their city. Nauman, in reaction, made art that questions everything, from space, to light, to words to the meaning of life.