201 Chrystie Street & 540 West 26th Street, New York
New York, December 11, 2013—Lehmann Maupin is pleased to announce an exhibition of artist Alex Prager’s new body of work, Face in the Crowd, on view at both of the gallery’s New York locations from January 9 – February 22, 2014. This two-part exhibition will feature large-scale photographs of elaborately staged crowd scenes at 201 Chrystie Street and an immersive three-channel video installation at 540 West 26th Street. The exhibition is Prager’s de but show with Lehmann Maupin since joining the gallery in September 2013. Concurrently on view through March 9, 2014 is the artist’s largest exhibition in a United States museum at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
The artist will be presentfor an openingreception on Thursday, January 9, 2014 from 6 to 8 PM.
Shot on a Los Angeles sound stage in early 2013, Face in the Crowd is Prager’s most complex and ambitious work to date. The artist directed hundreds of actors on constructed sets to create portraits of large crowds at airport terminals, lobbies, beaches, movie theater sandlot her public spaces. For each scene, Prager taps into a shared cultural memory to create images that are familiar yet strange. The characters, clothing, hair style sand poses are all carefully chosen by the artist to convey a range of time periods from mid-century to present and recall cultural references drawn from street photography and classic Hollywood cinema. The ambiguity of the eras and locations suggest a sense of timeless ness while also creating a world that synthesizes fiction and reality. The viewer is removed from the scenes at seeminglyim possible vantage points and peer over the crowd of individual characters, each connected by their close proximity, yet simultaneously isolated in their own private worlds. The countless facial expressions are directed toward no person in particular and suggestun shared thoughts and solitary emotions. In an age of increased communication through technology, where in some ways we are more connected than ever, Prager’s scenes of disconnected characters with in the crowd remind us of the resulting decline of interpersonal contact in our media saturated society.
Prager further explores the complicated and at times contradictory emotions as sociated with crowds through a new film starring Elizabeth Banks. An immersive experience that put stheviewer directly in the center of a three-channel video installation, the film open swith a series of confessional monologues in which characters from the crowd scenespoignantlyrelatetheirownstoriesandinsights, such as childhoodmemories, recurringnightmaresandpersonalrevelations. Suddenly, thescenechangesand an orchestrastrikes as a sea of peoplefloodintoview. Theiconicheroinethenleadstheviewer on a journeythroughthecrowdwordlesslyexpressing a range of emotionsincludingisolation, sadness, confusion, curiosityandanxiety. The juxtaposition of character monologues and the frenetic crowd scene poignantly illustrates that within a swirling sea of strangers, there are countless individual stories and unique experiences unfolding. Whereas Prager’s large-scale photographs of crowd scenes expose the disconnection between individuals in society, her new film Face in the Crowd explores the unspoken connections among individuals and is a reminder that we are part of something larger than oneself.