"All Women Are Actresses": Photographer Alex Prager Makes Women 2-D

Illustration for article titled All Women Are Actresses: Photographer Alex Prager Makes Women 2-D

In a new photography show, Alex Prager objectifies women:

As in her past two shows, "Polyester" and "The Big Valley," L.A. artist Prager's latest show, Week-End, features the artist's acquaintances made over into classically feminine mannequins. ArtNet,

In the artist's own words, she is "documenting a world that exists and doesn't exist at the same time." The trilogy began with girls playing archetypal roles in Polyester. Then in The Big Valley, the roles took on lives of their own, and the separation between make-believe and real life began to dissolve. With Week-End, which signifies the peak as well as the extent of the period, the façade becomes so thick that the illusion is now more real than the world they actually live in.

So, "Week-End" finds Prager's subjects explicitly cinematic - overt homages to Hitchcock's blondes, Lynch's subversion and Eccleston's saturated Americana. Says Wallpaper, on female archetypes - ranging from the temptress to the tempted - Prager manufactures meticulously staged shots of women both disguised and exposed - using synthetic wigs, heavy make-up and polyester costumes to capture, as she puts it, ‘women on the edge.'

If you're thinking "Betty Draper" you won't be alone - and the brittle identity politics in which Prager work can feel familiar. But the fact that the images still evoke such a visceral response shows says something: it's always a little uncomfortable to be confronted with iconic femininity and be immediately seduced by its beauty before considering the implications. And the artist obviously knows that: that she knows the women behind the mask must make the experience even more disquieting.

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Week-End By Alex Prager, NY [Wallpaper]
Alex Prager: Week-End [Cool-Hunting]
ALEX PRAGER: WEEK-END [ArtNet]
Q&A: Alex Prager, Los Angeles [FeatureShoot]

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DISCUSSION

teh-indiciiia--professional-f-old
Teh Indiciiia, professional flower whore

Love this kind of artwork to bits. Precisely because it *is* disturbing.

We spend so much time in society denying that these ugly aspects exist, I <3 it so much when (generally female) artists just splash it all out there.

In particular given the politics of women in art to begin with.

This is reminding me a little of Kara Walker. Similarly surface aesthetics and deeply disturbing content that ought to be aired out more often.