Sunday, December 31, 2006

Paul Pfeiffer

Paul Pfeiffer is one of my favorite contemporary artists. You may not have heard of him because the insular world of art doesn't seem to understand digital media or isn't very interested in reaching larger audiences. There isn't much info online about him and it's nearly impossible to see his work outside museums and galleries despite the fact that the medium he works in is video. (It's no mistake that the big New York Museums are uptown on Madison and Fifth, they play the same silly games of exclusivity as upscale fashion retailers. (Fashion retailers, however, have the good sense to keep prices high and the masses away. Museums on weekends are about as much fun as Macy's. The Chelsea gallery scene operates more like the smarmy PR industry. But I digress.)

Paul's work explores the medium of video. I see his work following in the tradition of people like Mekas and Brakage. Experimental work that explores the medium itself.

In many of his pieces he erases key elements from the original source material. For example, in the piece "Caryatid" the hockey players have been digitally erased from a Stanley Cup victory skate. What we are left with is the cup hovering and moving about the rink. Disarming, strange and beautiful.

The are some small, short clips as well as some biographical material on the PBS site. This is one of the few good online resources on Paul, definitely worth a look.

I find it disappointing that more people doing interesting, experimental work along these lines aren't getting the notice, attention and exposure that (I think) they deserve.

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