Peter Plagens

EGG the arts show


April 2001

WAY BACK in the antediluvian ’70s, they shot parts of The Sting outside my studio in Pasadena, California. Until the novelty wore off, a few of us artists would stand around and watch. I remember overhearing a couple of extras talking. One … READ ON

IN PRINT April 2001 [TOC]


January 2001

“Exploring the reverberations of digital technology in contemporary art and culture” is like counting the fish in the Mississippi: pointless unless there’s an insightful a priori focus to the project. Thus “BitStreams” is likely to be of … READ ON



June 2000

In anticipation of the dual surveys being mounted this summer—“EDWARD RUSCHA” at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., and “WAYNE THIEBAUD: a paintings retrospective” at the palace of the legion of honor in San Francisco—we asked PETER … READ ON

IN PRINT Summer 2000

Wayne Thiebaud

May 2000

How come a Norman Rockwell retrospective occasions gasps and sneers, but the upcoming Wayne Thiebaud survey (eighty works from the ‘50s on) provokes nary a hiccup? You say Norm's an “illustrator.” Thiebaud isn't? You say Rockwell's work is … READ ON


Making Choices

January 2000

Nobody can figure out how—or why—the Museum of Modern Art cooked up such a delirious arabesque of shows to celebrate the millennium. But after “Modern Starts,” with its component parts, “People,” “Places,” and “Things,” it seemed like the … READ ON


Hans Hartung

January 2000

In the postwar ’40s and ’50s, arty American sophisticates liked Europe’s cute little cars, but we Yanks didn’t much appreciate the Continent’s cute little versions of Abstract Expressionism. When it came to brushy non-objectivity, we preferred… READ ON


Peter Plagens

December 1999

The big bosses at Artforum asked for an annotated list of the ten best art thingies of the ’90s, and that’s exactly what they’re gonna get. No Greil Marcus/Ron Rosenbaum–style envelope-pushing to slip in a remaindered CD by Animal Logic or … READ ON

IN PRINT December 1999

Marla Prather


November 1999

THE STANDARD art-world book on the Whitney Museum goes like this: a distant third in the New York contemporary museum sweepstakes (after august MoMA and flashy Guggenheim Inc.), stuck in a cramped, unrenovatable late-modernist bunker, limited… READ ON

IN PRINT November 1999

Charles and Ray Eames


October 1999

IN 1954, WHEN I WAS A PINK-CHEEKED lad of a mere thirteen years, our family—newly returned to Los Angeles from the aging, sooty confines of Cleveland—paid a visit to an old friend of my father’s who’d made it big at Capitol Records and built… READ ON

IN PRINT October 1999

“The American Century: Art & Culture 1950–2000”

September 1999

If you thought the Whitney bit off more than it could chew with Part I (1900–1950) of its encyclopedic survey “The American Century,” wait till you see Part II. Instead of cozily sized, determinedly modernist paintings selected by one curator,… READ ON