Lehmann Maupin Gallery presents Alex Prager’s latest body of work titled, ‘Face in the Crowd’, in both their Chelsea and Lower East Side locations as a two-part exhibition, opening today.
On view at 201 Chrystie Street will be the large-format, elaborately staged crowd scenes, while the 540 West 26th Street location will present an immersive three-channel video installation.
Shot on a Los Angeles soundstage 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 theaters and other public spaces. For each scene, Prager taps into a shared cultural memory to create images that are familiar yet strange. The characters, clothing, hairstyles and poses are all carefully chosen by the artist to convey a range of time periods from mid-century to the present and recall cultural references drawn from street photography and classic Hollywood cinema.
The ambiguity of the eras and locations suggest a sense of timelessness while also creating a world that synthesizes fiction and reality. The viewer is removed from the scenes at seemingly impossible 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 suggest private 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 within the crowd remind us of the resulting decline of interpersonal contact in our media saturated society.
540 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
201 Chrystie Street
New York, NY 10002