‘Compulsion’ opens in New York, Los Angeles, London

1:18pm, Silverlake Drive, 2012, by Alex Prager

Los Angeles native Alex Prager is a self-taught artist whose stunning, subversive images are steeped in cinematic references. Influenced by silent, surrealist and noir films as well as the photography of Weegee and Enrique Metinides, Prager started shooting after seeing William Eggleston’s work in a show at the Getty Museum.

Through the construction of scenes inspired by media tragedies, her new collection investigates the complexity of observation in a society inundated by compulsive spectators. The exhibition will also feature Prager’s new short film, “La Petite Mort,” starring French actress Judith Godrèche.

“Compulsion” opens this weekend at the Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York and M + B Gallery in Los Angeles; it opens later this month at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London.

For more of Prager’s story, read Leslie Camhi’s interview in Vogue.

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Weegee works on display in New York and Los Angeles

Weegee's Hats in pool room, Mulberry Street, New York, circa 1943. Copyright Weegee/ICP

Opening today at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York is “Weegee: Murder Is My Business.”

The famous photographer was born Usher Fellig in 1899 in what is now the Ukraine; his family moved to New York in 1909. He later acquired the nickname Weegee from the Ouija board game because of his knack for arriving at crime scenes just minutes after the crimes were reported.

Says the ICP: Between 1935 and 1946, Weegee was one of the most relentlessly inventive figures in American photography. His graphically dramatic and often lurid photographs of New York crimes and news events set the standard for what has become known as tabloid journalism.

Weegee also wrote extensively (including his autobiographical “Naked City,” published in 1945) and organized his own exhibitions. He died in 1968. This show includes environmental recreations of Weegee’s apartment and exhibitions. It runs through Sept. 2.

And running through Feb. 27 at MOCA is “Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles.” More than 200 works from ICP’s Weegee archive are on display.

This Sunday, Jan. 22, at 3 p.m., Richard Meyer, guest curator of “Naked Hollywood,” Brian Wallis, chief curator at the ICP, and art historian Colin Westerbeck will discuss Weegee’s work, tabloid photography, celebrity culture and the lure of the lowbrow.

MOCA is at 250 S. Grand Ave. in Los Angeles.

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