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Michael McCarthy | Photo: Joe Kohen/Wireimage | September 26, 2013
Alex Prager is about to pull DC into her cinematic world. It’s a space occupied by lost postmodern souls bathed in the saturated hues of Los Angeles. She’s a director of movie shorts, but her photographs—enormous staged productions with models—have driven her fame. Prager discusses Face in the Crowd, her new work created for this fall’s Corcoran exhibit.
What’s your overarching vision for the exhibit?
My intention is to show the many emotions one can experience while being in or a part of a crowd and just how complicated crowds are—the feeling of disappearing in a crowd, curiosity, fear and claustrophobia. There are so many levels of stories one can imagine.
You’re a still-life director. How does it work?
I directed hundreds of different actors, friends and family members to create these scenes. I’ve been told the pictures are like Alex Prager on steroids! I’ve finally been able to use all the costumes, wigs, props and characters I’ve been saving up for the past 10 years.
The exhibit blurs the line between fiction and reality—does living in Los Angeles influence this?
Yes—and being around all the film people. Nothing is quite what it seems here, so that can really spark the imagination.
Is your new work also a commentary on social media and its penchant for isolating us?
In our attempt to be more connected, we’ve only distanced ourselves from real interaction. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a fan of social media, and I struggle to control my use of it so that it doesn’t overpower my human-to-human interactions. So, yes, if you see my heavily constructed images as a comment on social media, then I’m sure it comes from many experiences I’ve had over the past couple years that influenced this body of work.
How are you in crowds?
I spent a lot of time traveling the past few years, and so I spent many hours moving with crowds of people. It’s interesting the way you can lose yourself in a crowd—nobody around you will even notice you’re really there. You could feel that you’re among strangers, until, suddenly, something happens that forces you to interact with the people surrounding you—sometimes in a very intimate way.
Nov. 23-March 9, 500 17th St. NW, 202.639.1700, corcoran.org