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New sculpture in Babbidge Library to be dedicated Oct. 23

by Suzanne Zack - October 20, 2008

University Libraries will celebrate the installation of the sculpture “Endangered Species” by internationally known sculptor, printmaker, and painter Werner Pfeiffer on Thursday, Oct. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Pfeiffer’s sculpture, titled “Endangered Species,” uses books that have been sealed shut, then mutilated, and placed on shelving lined with pages from the dictionary, making a compelling statement about the power of the written word and censorship.

The work, which measures 7 feet by 24 feet, was created in the 1980s and exhibited throughout the U.S. and Europe. It is a gift of the artist.

A native of Stuttgart, Germany, Pfeiffer attended the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste (State Academy of Fine Arts and Design) in Stuttgart, where he trained as a fine artist specializing in book art.

He emigrated to New York in 1961, where he worked for nearly a decade as a freelance designer and art director, earning many citations and awards for his work.

He was appointed professor and director of the Adlib Press at the prestigious Pratt Institute in 1969, a position he held for 42 years.

Pfeiffer’s books, collages, drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures have been shown internationally in more than 100 group exhibitions and in more than 60 solo shows in countries including Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Israel, Sweden, Switzerland, and in the U.S.

Werner Pfeiffer assembles his installation ‘Endangered Species’ in the Bookworms Café in Homer Babbidge Library.
Werner Pfeiffer assembles his installation ‘Endangered Species’ in the Bookworms Café in Homer Babbidge Library. Photo by Suzanne Zack

In addition to being in many private and corporate collections, he is represented in the U.S. in institutions including the Brooklyn Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art.

His work has also been shown at institutions including the Buchmuseum in Dresden, Klingspor Museum in Offenbach, the National Museum and Ostergotlands Museum in Sweden, and the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, where his work was also exhibited in a show together with that of his wife, Lise Poirier, a collagist.

In addition to UConn’s library, his work may also be seen at UConn’s Law School, at the criminal court building in Waterbury, the offices of The Hartford Courant, and elsewhere. Pfeiffer is scheduled to attend the dedication, as is University President Michael J. Hogan.

Pfeiffer’s “Endangered Species” has been installed in the highly popular and often crowded Bookworms Café, a prime location on campus for socializing, studying, and eating.

The café was expanded 625 square feet this past summer, thanks in part to a gift from the Class of 2006.

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