New Media Series—Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd
July 17–November 1, 2015
The Saint Louis Art Museum presents Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd
, the latest installment in the museum’s New Media Series. In Face in the Crowd
, photographer and filmmaker Alex Prager adopts cinematic conventions to explore the complicated emotions elicited by crowds. In a series of confessional monologues, individuals discuss personal topics including love, aging, memory, work, and loneliness. This quasi-documentary approach then shifts dramatically to a richly colorful imagining of crowded public spaces. A young blond woman watches the bustling crowd from her window before joining them. Pushed and pulled along, she expresses curiosity, repulsion, and anxiety. Prager shifts between panoramic and close-up views, creating a dream-like atmosphere.
For this elaborately staged film, which was shot in a Los Angeles studio, Prager cast over a hundred actors, ranging from family and friends to the film star, Elizabeth Banks. Despite Prager’s self-conscious imitation of classic films from the 1940s and 1950s, Face in the Crowd
speaks to contemporary experiences of social alienation and isolation within the modern city.
Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd
is curated by Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art.