A solo exhibition of new work by Paul Pfeiffer, the current Lamar Dodd Professorial Chair, opened October 13 at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York City. Known for his innovative manipulation of digital media, Pfeiffer recasts the visual language of spectacle to uncover its psychological, cultural, and racial underpinnings. Consistent with this focus, the artist’s second solo show with the gallery features new video work including a forty-eight minute multi-channel audio and video installation entitled Three Figures In A Room (2015–2016). The installation deconstructs televised footage of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao’s highly publicized boxing match at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, in May 2015. Replacing the original audio with a quieter Foley soundtrack, which isolates the noises made by the physical exertion of the boxers in the ring, and using a second video channel to show sound technicians as they create such sound effects, underscores both the acute physicality of the boxers as well as the highly constructed spectacle built up around them. Sound is bounced back and forth from one side of the gallery to the other, in auditory mimicry of the sparring humans. Three chrome TV sets playing slow-motion excerpts of boxing matches—digitally altered to remove the opponent—are also on view. Part of Pfeiffer’s ongoing “Caryatid” series, begun in 2004, they refocus the viewer’s attention upon the lone boxer, creating space for meditation.
Pfieffer has been in residence as the Lamar Dodd Professorial Chair since the beginning of 2016, and his position was recently extended through 2018. Pfieffer teaches an intensive cross-media critique class and has shared his practice with the UGA community though a public lecture and an exhibition of his work in the Dodd Galleries in March 2016. “Paul Pfieffer: Desiderata” gave students and faculty a chance to engage with three works held in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, The Broad Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. In addition to his work at the Dodd, the artist is currently preparing for an upcoming show at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, opening January 20, 2017.