Alex Prager (b. 1979, Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) is a photographer and filmmaker who creates elaborately staged scenes that draw inspiration from a wide range of influences and references, including Hollywood cinema, experimental films, popular culture, and street photography. She deliberately casts and stages all of her works, merging past and contemporary sources to create a sense of ambiguity. Her familiar yet uncanny images depict worlds that synthesize fiction and reality and evoke a sense of nostalgia. Prager cultivates the surreal in her photographs and films, creating emotional moments that feel like a fabricated memory or dream. Each photograph captures a moment frozen in time, inviting the viewer to “complete the story” and speculate about its narrative context. Prager’s work often makes the viewer aware of the voyeuristic nature of photography and film, establishing the uneasy feeling of intruding upon a potentially private moment. The highly choreographed nature of her photographs and films exposes the way images are constructed and consumed in our media-saturated society.
Solo exhibitions of Prager’s work have been organized at Lehmann Maupin, Palm Beach, FL (2022); Lotte Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea (2022); Lehmann Maupin, London, United Kingdom (2022); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA (2020); Fotografiska, Tallinn, Estonia (2020); Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden (2019); Fondazione Sozzani, Milan, Italy (2019); FOAM Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2019); Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia, (2019); Musée des Beaux-Arts Le Locle, Le Locle, Switzerland (2018); The Photographers’ Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2018); Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA (2017-2018); Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO (2015); Galerie des Galeries, Paris, France (2015); Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas, TX (2015); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2014); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2013); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2013); and the FOAM Photography Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2012). Select group exhibitions featuring her work include Still Present!, 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2022); Oil. Beauty and Horror in the Petrol Age, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany (2021); Photography Is Art, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX (2021); Terminal, City Gallery Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand (2020); In Production: Art and the Studio System, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China (2019); Good Night: Energy Flash, Storage by Hyundai Card, Seoul, South Korea (2019); Telling Tales: Contemporary Narrative Photography, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2016-2014); Open Rhapsody, Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon (2015); The Noir Effect, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA (2014); No Fashion, Please: Photography Between Gender and Lifestyle, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2011); and New Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010).
Prager’s work is in numerous international public and private collections, including the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, Turkey; Fondation Carmignac Gestion, Paris, France; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH; Igal Ahouvi Art Collection, Tel Aviv, Israel; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; Lotte Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ; Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland, Australia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; The Sir Elton John Photography Collection, London, United Kingdom; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.
Prager has received numerous awards, including the FOAM Paul Huf Award (2012), The Vevey International Photography Award (2009), and the London Photographic Award (2006). Her editorial work has been featured in prominent publications, including Vogue, New York Magazine, and W, and her film series Touch of Evil, commissioned by The New York Times Magazine, won a 2012 Emmy award. Her first major public commission, Applause, for Times Square Arts: Midnight Moment, New York, took place in summer 2017.
Artist portrait by Jeff Vespa