Paul Pfeiffer Named Cornell University Teiger Mentor in the Arts

image of two boxing program projections in a room

Three Figures in a Room (2015–18), two synced video channels on two projectors, four audio channels, all synced, media players, dimensions variable. photo / courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery

News
August 22, 2018

The Department of Art at Cornell University has named Paul Pfeiffer as the Teiger Mentor in the Arts for the fall 2018 semester. Pfeiffer is a New York City–based digital media artist who innovates and manipulates the visual language of pop spectacle to examine how images shape our perception of ourselves and the world. He samples footage featuring subjects that range from game show contestants and professional athletes to Michael Jackson, from sources such as YouTube and cable television in order to mine for deeply latent racial, religious, and technological dimensions of contemporary culture.

"I first encountered Paul's work John 3:16 in the Greater New York group exhibition at MoMA PS1 in 2000 and have since been enthusiastically following his creative practice in video, photography, and sculpture," says Carl Ostendarp, associate professor of art and director of graduate studies for the department's M.F.A. program. "Paul's work is said to address the role that mass media plays in shaping our communal consciousness, but what it also seems to me to do is offer us a compelling opportunity to become more empathetic towards one another."

Pfeiffer has exhibited widely throughout the U.S. and internationally. His museum solo shows and projects include the Whitney Museum of American Art; the UCLA Hammer Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; the Contemporary Art Museum, Honolulu; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Barbican Arts Centre, London; Hamburger Bahnhof Museum fur Gegenwart, Berlin; Sammlung Goetz, Munich; and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila. Pfeiffer's work has also been seen in numerous national and international group exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial, MoMA PS1's Greater New York, the Sydney Biennial, and the 2001 Venice Biennale of Art.

Pfeiffer earned a B.F.A. in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, an M.F.A. from Hunter College, and was a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program. He was a featured artist in the PBS series Art:21 – Art in The Twenty-First Century, and is the recipient of a number of awards, most notably the Alpert Award for Visual Arts from CalArts in 2009, a United States Artist Fellowship in 2015, and the inaugural Bucksbaum Award from the Whitney Museum in 2000.

"I had the great pleasure of teaching alongside Paul at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture during the summer of 2016," adds Ostendarp. "And I am thrilled that he has agreed to take on the role of Teiger Mentor in the Arts for the upcoming fall semester. I know that our faculty and M.F.A. cohort feel the same."

As Teiger Mentor, Pfeiffer will visit campus multiple times during the fall semester, and spend several days of each visit meeting and working with graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Art. He will deliver a public artist talk on September 24 at 5:15 p.m. in the Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium in Milstein Hall.

The Teiger Mentor in the Arts Program was created with a gift from David Teiger '51, a graduate of the School of Hotel Administration. Teiger, who died in December 2014, was a management consultant who lived in Bernardsville, New Jersey. Teiger was a contemporary art collector and patron of curatorial projects and exhibitions throughout the U.S. and Europe. Pfeiffer is the 11th Teiger Mentor to date. Previous mentors were Sam Lewitt, Dana Hoey, Sean Landers, Craig Kalpakjian, Sam Durant, Sharon Hayes, Leslie Hewitt, Alejandro Cesarco, Shannon Ebner, and Josiah McElheny.