new-york

Peter Plagens

Nancy Hoffman Gallery

A lot of the articles Peter Plagens has written for this magazine wind up with affirmations of painting, huzzahs thrown in the face of other art-making modes. After a spell in the New York “pressure cooker,” for example, he’s back home in California slogging pigment. “Confronted with that—the painting on the wall—how can you possibly care about anything else?” Indeed. Well, there’s all that picaresque art criticism, powered by his angst as a painter, which he surely must care to write. And his book, Sunshine Muse, that launches itself well enough as an anecdotal history, but settles sadly into a regional apologia. So it’s hard not to see Plagens’s paintings in light of his writings, or worse in lieu of them, as more communiqués from Siena to Florence.

He wrote a published puff to a Los Angeles show of Richard Serra’s drawings (who, I’m told, leafed through Uccello picture books as he drew).

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