The Saint Louis Art Museum presents Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd, the latest installment in the museum’s New Media Series. The video installation will be on view in Gallery 301 from July 17 through November 1, 2015.
In Alex Prager’s most ambitious film to date, the Los Angeles photographer and filmmaker adopts cinematic conventions to explore the complicated emotions elicited by crowds. The film, titled Face in the Crowd, begins with a series of confessional monologues shot with a quasi-documentary approach before shifting to a richly colorful imagining of crowded public spaces.
In the 11-minute film, a blonde ingénue watches bustling crowds from her window before joining them. Pushed and pulled along, she expresses curiosity, repulsion, and anxiety.
The elaborately staged film was shot in a Los Angeles studio. Prager, who often incorporates celebrity actors into her films, cast the film star Elizabeth Banks as her main character along with over 100 additional actors including family and friends. Despite Prager’s self-conscious imitation of classic films from the 1940s and 1950s, Face in the Crowd speaks to very contemporary experiences of social alienation and isolation within the modern city.
Face in the Crowd was conceived as a three-channel installation, however the film will be shown as a single channel during its presentation at the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Prager has been featured in solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2014) and the Corcoran Gallery, Washington (2013). Prager’s work was prominently featured in the group exhibition New Photography 2010 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010). Her work is also included in prominent public collections including the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd is curated by Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art.