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Roberta Smith: "What to See in N.Y.C. Galleries Right Now"

Since the beginning of his career, Paul Pfeiffer has often used the spectacle of professional sports broadcasts, carefully editing existing film to extract existentially intense moments. In one earlier work he digitally emptied a basketball game of all but one player who, in isolation, seems caught in a moment of isolated ecstasy — or agony. In another, he eliminated everything from a basketball game except the ball itself shown magically spinning in midair or careering down the court.

In “Red Green Blue,” his latest work, Pfeiffer reveals the whole ball of wax — everything except the center — of a Southeastern Conference college football game between the University of Missouri and the University of Georgia, in the latter’s stadium in Athens, Ga. And using eight cameras and six microphones, Pfeiffer shoots it himself and heavily edits it to give us everything but the game itself. Instead he exposes the vast apparatus that creates its pageantry: announcers calling the game, a producer directing cameras, music directors and band conductors leading a large, seated marching band, occasional expanses of fans, and a knees-down view of coaches and players pacing the sidelines. You also see, from a distance, people leaving the stadium, and just beyond, a small 19th-century graveyard in a group of trees (Georgia pines?), adding an elegiac note. Almost everything is seen in close-up: cheerleaders’ necks and smiles, the producer’s earpiece and blond hair, the calves and knee braces of the Georgia players. This is the macrocosm seen from the margins, like watching an anthill. It’s not quite clear who is making what happen, you just know that, together, they are.