Colleagues, ugly sweaters: Office holiday party at LACMA


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Needless to say, the office is like a guy who takes down his pants and photocopies his hips in a Xerox car on a holiday party. But we’ll talk about that later.

COVID-19 could rise sharply around the world and jobs are mostly closed, but the office is hosting a holiday party Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Sweet clothes, a wet fist and at least one man wearing a Santa hat and fainted on his desk. Here’s the thing: you’re invited.

On Saturday, LACMA will unveil the LA artist’s sculptural installation, “Farewell, Labor Day Celebrations”. Alex Prager. The work on the story – on the platform at the entrance to the museum, behind the “City Light” – 15 really real, covers the realm of life sculptural figures Enjoy a holiday party at an insurance company (enjoy?) because the HR manager is a DJ, of course – and two colleagues are down on the dance floor, one kicking his shoes, showing his small feet, and the other with a “70s” glass and open metal dress. Surrounded by two unwanted employees, the boss is red-faced and happy. This “Office” meeting is “Office Space.”

Alex Prager's sculptural installation at LACMA, "Farewell, Labor Day parties. ”

Alex Prager’s sculptural installation at LACMA, “Farewell, Labor Day Party.” The work is both satirical and reminiscent of the office holiday party.

(Denmark Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

The piece recalls, though, that satirical, awkward corporate Christmas ritual. And it explores the boundary between fantasy and reality, reflecting the world of the COVID era.

“It’s been a very difficult time and there hasn’t been so much humor in the world in the last nine months; It was very hateful and polarizing, ”Prager said. “Humor is a way to shed light on what it’s like to have an easy-going experience. We don’t have these parties yet, we don’t have any parties – and it allows us to laugh at ourselves.”

“Farewell, holiday parties at work” is typical of Prager’s work and has to do with COVID. No different from an artist Cindy ShermanPrager often staged melodramatic stories, and then he was photographed in a saturated technical color. But instead of disguising himself as Sherman, he uses actors in smart clothes. For “Farewell, Work Holidays,” Prague also worked with filmmaker Hollywood effects company Vincent Van Dyke Effects to create, as he puts it, “sculptures of life,” instead of gathering actors for personal photography. He still used actors, but in 2020: He scanned and printed body parts 3-D type printing, he managed them once through Zoom.

Some of the printed parts of the body were used in sculptures before hair and makeup were used to paint the skin; Prague then emphasized their features, adding weight to the face with clay or making the nose bulge. The arms and legs are made of silicone molds.

The sculptures feature stinky, mink and real human hair, as well as glass eyes, which give them a surprising emotion. Worked with Pager costume designer Jennifer Johnson and producer KK Barrett co-founded the work by Rita Gonzalez, curator of contemporary art at LACMA, and Liz Andrews, executive administrator at the museum’s director’s office.

Alex Prager, CEO and staff member of the sculpture installation, "Farewell, Labor Day parties."

Director and staff member at Alex Prager’s sculptural installation “Farewell, Holiday at Work.”

(Denmark Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

As a result, the practical results of the old school, Hollywood, are, according to Gonzalez, “on the verge of obsolescence.”

“Alex loves to give in to the crafty, intensive ways of creating effects that contrast with digital staging in his work,” Gonzalez says. “This work is a testament to his devotion – all the details are handmade.”

And the details have rabbit holes: freckles, moles and scars on the skin, teeth, nose hair and shaving nails on the surface of the figures. The symbols on the Post-It tables are written manually. Dressed in a red suit, holding a martini in his hand, an obscene-looking CEO, a ring and lipstick on his front teeth; He grabs his cell phone and runs across the face of the crying receptionist. Small text messages on its screen indicate that it is interrupted.

“I deal with it with raw emotions. “I really wanted people to be able to find what they love in these beautiful moments.” “We have all shared these moments, to one degree or another, the moments of communication. And found in universal communication details. ”

There are details that viewers will never see. The guy on the copier? Try wrapping her underwear, which has blurred hair on her hips. Excuse me, or maybe you will accept: Visitors are not allowed to touch the work.

Receptionist at Alex Prague "Farewell, Labor Day parties, ”he said.

The receptionist in Alex Prague’s sculptural installation “Farewell, Labor Day Parties” doesn’t spend much time at shindig.

(Denmark Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

“Farewell, Labor Day Party” is clearly bitter-sweet. Who will miss the chaotic head in a Santa costume and the inevitable exchange of gifts from the white elephant? It is possible that the number of people who have been quarantined for several months without interruption, socially excluded, and working from home is now high. In part, that’s why this work needs to be practical, deep and layered, Prager says. It’s no coincidence that LACMA usually hosts its annual holiday party. The nearby Ray’s restaurant, which has been closed since May, will reopen on Saturday due to limited access to patio meals; Coffee and Milk Cafe offers meals.

Expanding his experience, Prager wrote detailed stories for each of the characters in the installation manual, which will be in a retail pop-up window. The chapters, the windows that enter the psyche of each character, are surprisingly entertaining and read like short stories. Wilma, who has been an accountant and Santa’s office for 11 years, softened the stool in the morning and put it in a co-worker’s coffee so that he could steal and wear his Santa hat.

Wilma, an accountant for Alex Prager's sculptural installation “Farewell, Labor Day parties."

Wilma, an accountant for Alex Prager’s “Farewell, Holiday Party” sculptural installation, has been Santa’s office for 11 years and no one takes it away.

(Denmark Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Prager is also about 1 & frac1; Filmed a 2-minute short film and featuring its characters, it will be posted on the LACMA website.

“It’s like a real party,” says Prager, “and when you start to feel like something’s wrong, you feel like you’re in a dusty museum.”

Not uncomfortable at all.  Alex Prager's sculptural installation, "Farewell, Labor Day parties. ”

Not uncomfortable at all. Sculptural installation by Alex Prager, “Farewell, Holiday Party.”

(Denmark Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

One of the longest-running questions about “farewell, workday parties” is time: as the number of viruses and deaths increases, new curfew Since Saturday and orders to sit at home are on the horizon, is it wise to encourage the museum to gather even more in the open air?

According to Gonzalez, the work will be closely monitored by officers and security guards. A maximum of 12 people are allowed inside the camp at any time. Incoming traffic flows in one direction, one way out, and then people go around the work, but do not enter it.

“People still come to see Levitated Mass and Urban Light – they miss being in a museum,” Gonzalez said. “We really want to welcome people back, and this seems to be the safest and most structured way to do it. This is a responsible and careful method of recovery after months of lack of anything. ”

The work is in the moment, in the moment and in the current antidote.

“We wanted to bring relief to the area and it looks like it was a great opportunity,” Andrews said. “Visitors should have the experience and remember, whether it’s real or what they’ve seen on TV – it’s easy, frankly, accessible from a safe social distance.”

The holiday season in 2020 does not seem to be surreal.


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