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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd

Alex Prager's new exhibition opened at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery’s two locations on Thursday. Alex Prager's  exhibition entitled Face in the Crowd needs to be seen in person to appreciate the subtlety. Prager worked from L.A. for this series, which makes perfect sense. Actors and sound-stages are used to create elaborate scenes. Upon first glance the viewer simply thinks they are looking at some crowd shots; simple documentary photography, albeit with a very expensive camera. However looking closer at the scenes is unsettling. The actors are dressed like it is sometime in the mid to late 60's or 70's – everyone is smoking, pastel colors and awful yellows and brown permeates, but Prager deliberately, I assume, puts tells into the prints that can't be seen unless one is standing in front of the 6 foot tall print. A man holding a copy of Newsweek with Michelle Obama on the cover, Camel blue cigarettes, and a newspaper showing the date. It is all distinctly foreign, yet familiar. In the Chelsea gallery there is an immersive, visually spectacular three-channel video installation on view as well as stills. The prints are collective portraits of people in everyday life scenarios. The staged photographs individualize each person within the frame amongst exaggerated busy and chaotic moments.

Alex Prager's Face in the Crowd runs until February 22nd.

Lower East Side: 201 Chrystie Street

Chelsea: 540 West 26th Street

Text by John Hutt

Photos by Tanya Kiseleva and Carlos Fonts

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