Is best known to the general public for his work as art critic and senior writer at Newsweek. He is also a frequent contributor to periodicals including Aperture, Art in American,Artforum and The New York Times. Plagens has also written a classic history of modern art on the West Coast (Sunshine Muse) and an anthology of his art criticism (Moonlight Blues). In addition, he has written many catalogue essays notably for the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume and the Irish Cultural Center in Paris, and The Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. He is also a painter whose work has appeared in many exhibitions, including a retrospective at the University of Southern California in 2004.