Peter Plagens: Artist-Slash-Critic

by Rainey Knudson April 20, 2019

An interview with Peter Plagens, the abstract painter who is perhaps best known not as an artist, but as the longtime art critic for Newsweek Magazine. Plagens wrote for Newsweek from 1989 to 2003, and since then has continued to write for Artforum and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. In this interview, Plagens talks about teaching at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1960s, why writing for a magazine is better than teaching, and why, in 2019, anyone should still be making abstract paintings. He spoke on the occasion of an exhibition of his paintings at Texas Gallery in Houston, which opened in April 2019.

“It’s nicer to deal with readers than it is to deal with students. You don’t feel responsible for somebody’s fate.”

Listen to the podcast below, or go to Glasstire’s Soundcloud channel here.

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Dane L Duggan August 19, 2019 - 08:35

Just a wonderful interview with Peter Plagens. I wasn’t aware of The Texas Gallery, but I’ll definitively visit now as my family lives there, but mainly because of your insightful, thoughtful interview. I saw Plagens work at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery when I lived in NYC in the ’80’s and liked it. In the ’70’s my drawing teacher was Teel Sale, at the then North Texas State, who you may be familiar with. “Drawing, A contemporary Approach ” was written by her; one of my drawings is represented in an edition. I do contemporary paintings down here in Florida now. Again, nice interview.


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