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On Art and Spectacle: Artist Talk with Paul Pfeiffer
At a time when we are more inundated than ever with visual content across media platforms, questions arise about how we perceive images: Do we still see the violence of war and racial injustice? Do we see the labor of an athlete in the midst of a crowded landscape of audience and advertisements?

Working with footage drawn from the world of sports, Hollywood films, game shows, and other events intended for popular consumption, Hawaii-born artist Paul Pfeiffer investigates the role that the mass media plays in shaping collective human consciousness. His digitally-manipulated videos and photographs show us how we perceive the world around us and what we might be missing.

Pfeiffer’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (8), which is in the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection, recasts the image of a lone basketball player reaching toward the sky. The other players, lights, and advertisements that surrounded him have been digitally removed, and only a distant crowd remains to watch as he leaps up, stretching into darkness. Pfeiffer reimagines a fleeting moment in a fast-paced game as a surreal, still image, one that reveals the laborious effort of a human body as it reaches for the heavens.

Pfeiffer joins Hirshhorn associate curator Marina Isgro to discuss his process behind creating videos and photographs that force us to pause and see elements of our world that might otherwise pass us by.

Feb 24, 2021 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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