New Media Series—Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd
July 17–November 1, 2015
Gallery 301

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.