David Schafer is working in sculpture, sound, digital media, and works on paper. The work is concerned with aspects of cultural memory and the structures of language and built space. His practice involves the distillation of data and information, and redirecting it while presenting altered relationships. Schafer’s sculpture may resemble scaffolding, shelves, or make shift support structures, that embed and weave multi-layered associations with text, sound, and structure. Schafer engages the viewer spatially and cognitively by employing sound to interact with the visual and sculptural elements. Often the starting point for his work is a found literary or philosophic text, or a form that drives the evolution of the work. His use of sound utilizes spoken word, appropriated recordings, voice actors, and composed sounds. The sculptures are many times staged like one act plays with spoken word recordings presenting the content of the narrative. The sculptures can be thought of as props, with the accompanying text works as scripts for spoken word, or scores for sound that address the viewer as an encounter on multiple levels. Schafer has had one-person shows at Diane Rosenstein Gallery and Samuel Freeman Gallery in Los Angeles and Studio10 gallery in Bushwick, NY. Schafer has executed temporary and permanent public works including a One Percent for the Arts commission for the Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, CA. Schafer’s work has been written about in ArtForum, Art in America, Arts, Cabinet Journal, NY Times, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, and Metropolis, among others. Schafer has performed using both analogue and digital source material, and has performed at a range of venues including; Human Resources, David Kordansky Gallery, Samuel Freeman Gallery, Control Room, L.A.C.E., Printed Matter, Silent Barn, Roulette, Invisible Dog, and Studio10. Schafer’s sound work has been included in curated radio programs in Lisbon, Paris, and Berlin.
In addition to several public art projects, Schafer’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York, Works on Paper, Inc, Los Angeles, and PS1, Long Island City, New York, Van Rooy Gallery, Netherlands.
His work has been presented in numerous group exhibitions including those at Lawrimore Project, Seattle, WA, The Sculpture Center, New York, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Williamson Gallery, Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, George Adams Gallery, New York, Artists Space], White Columns, The Drawing Center, New York, The Luckman Fine Arts Gallery, California State University, Long Beach Art Museum, Los Angeles, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California, De Vleeshal, Netherlands.
In 2006, Schafer was awarded a One Percent for the Arts Commission for the Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California, and in 1989, Schafer received an artist award in Sculpture from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Schafer’s work has been published in several exhibition catalogues as well as; Art issues, Flash Art, Sculpture Magazine, New Art Examiner, Art and Text, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Art Papers, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. His sound works have been written about in New York Press, The Anti-Fun Magazine of Belgium, Cabinet Magazine and his own writings have appeared in Art Papers, X-tra, Cool and Strange Music Magazine, Exotica/Etcetera, The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest and Documents Journal.