Alex Prager

Lehmann Maupin, The Broadway League

In partnership with Lehmann Maupin & The Broadway League, Times Square Arts presents artist Alex Prager’s Applause on Times Square’s electronic billboards from 11:57 p.m. to midnight every night in June. This project is a part of Midnight Moment, a monthly presentation by The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts.

In the heart of the Theater District, Applause turns viewing expectations upside-down, exposing the underlying tension between a performer and audience. Prager inserts viewers into the role of the performer, looking out at a costumed audience applauding on an eerily endless loop. Surrounded by larger-than-life cheers across the screens of Times Square, viewers’ everyday lives become the show, inviting them to consider elements of performance not just within the boundaries of a stage, but within quotidian activities like tourism and people-watching. The cheering actors, filmed within the Opéra Bastille, stare directly at onlookers directly in loops just short enough to feel unnatural, continuing Prager’s psychological examination of the complex dynamics that exist between the individual and the crowd and the emotional effect of two opposing viewpoints: the watcher and the watched.

Photographs courtesy of Ka-Man Tse for Times Square Arts.