Based in Los Angeles, Alex Israel engages with the particular culture of the local film and media industries. Mining the “food chain” of show business, he interrogates and confounds the fine line between “talent” and “raw material” while reframing and re-presenting manufactured items whose formal and auratic properties are often overlooked. For Israel, the American Dream, as embodied by the Los Angeles mythos, remains affecting and potent. Channeling celebrity culture as well as the slick appearance and aspirations of the entertainment capital, Israel approaches his hometown with an uncanny coupling of local familiarity and anthropological curiosity. His work alludes to both California cool and calculated brand creation, embracing clichés and styles that exude the hygienic optimism endemic to the local scene.
Israel was born in 1982 in Los Angeles. He received a BA in 2003 from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and an MFA in 2010 from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Israel’s works are in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (2012); Alex Israel: Lens, LA><ART, Los Angeles (2013); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2013); Alex Israel at The Huntington, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California (2015); Sightings: Alex Israel, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2015–16); #AlexIsrael, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2016); Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings, Jewish Museum, New York (2016–17); SPF-18, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (2018); and Waves, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria (2018).
Israel lives and works in Los Angeles.
May 24–August 11, 2018
Close at Hand
Modern and Contemporary Sculpture
January 9–February 24, 2018
October 26–December 16, 2017
West 24th Street, New York
Alex Israel | Bret Easton Ellis
February 3–March 18, 2017
Davies Street, London
Alex Israel | Bret Easton Ellis
February 25–April 23, 2016
Beverly Hills 20-Year Anniversary Invitational Exhibition, 1995–2015
October 30–December 19, 2015
Works from 1929 to 2015
June 11–August 1, 2015
Britannia Street, London
Kathryn Andrews | Alex Israel
January 16–March 15, 2014
Alex Israel: New Waves
An animated, short video by Alex Israel takes viewers on a visual journey through the ideas and imagery behind his latest exhibition in Hong Kong.
Alex Israel and Venus Lau
Alex Israel speaks with curator and writer Venus Lau about New Waves, his latest exhibition in Hong Kong. Israel reveals his spirit animal, discusses his love of Duchamp, and tells Lau about the process behind his newest works.
Alex Israel discusses his feature-length film with Derek Blasberg.
Alex Israel | Bret Easton Ellis
Hans Ulrich Obrist interviews the artist and writer about their recent collaboration.
Diana Widmaier Picasso, curator of the exhibition Desire, reflects on the history of eroticism in art.
Thursday, April 11, 2019, 6–9pm, booth H13
Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles
During the opening night of the LA Art Book Fair, Alex Israel will sign copies of his new book, SPF-18, at Westreich Wagner’s booth. This publication accompanies the artist’s 2017 feature film of the same name and includes on-set photography, behind-the-scenes imagery, and the full script. It is a beautifully illustrated artist book that visually narrates the film’s storyline and documents the filmmaking process, co-published by Gagosian and Westreich Wagner. To attend the event, purchase tickets at www.printedmatter.org.
Alex Israel: SPF-18 (New York: Gagosian; New York: Westreich Wagner, 2019)
West Bund Art & Design
November 8–11, 2018, booth A120
West Bund Art Center, Shanghai
Gagosian is pleased to participate in West Bund Art & Design for the first time, with a booth of modern and contemporary works by artists including Glenn Brown, Dan Colen, John Currin, Jean Dubuffet, Rachel Feinstein, Urs Fischer, Walton Ford, Ellen Gallagher, Douglas Gordon, Jennifer Guidi, Hao Liang, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Y.Z. Kami, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Nam June Paik, Richard Prince, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Rudolf Stingel, and Jonas Wood.
Additionally, a large-scale painting by Takashi Murakami, Dragon in Clouds – Indigo Blue (2010), will be installed in a special presentation at the entrance to Hall N. To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org. To preview our booth, go to artsy.net.
Thomas Houseago, Untitled (Colored Skull I), 2018 © Thomas Houseago
Sunday, July 29, 2018, 6pm
Southampton Arts Center, New York
Alex Israel’s 2017 film SPF-18 will be screened at the Southampton Art Center. The artist will introduce the film followed by a conversation with Israel and Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan, film writer and curator. To attend the event, purchase tickets at southamptonartscenter.org.
Alex Israel, SPF-18, 2017 (film still) © Alex Israel
March 17–April 28, 2018
Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria
This spring at Kunstraum Innsbruck Alex Israel presents a new body of work, Waves, low-relief sculptural friezes inspired by surfing wet suits and Hokusai. Each “wave” is an elaboration on a recurring graphic motif from Israel’s 2017 film SPF-18 and is painted in colors drawn from the film’s unique palette.
Alex Israel, Wave 9, 2017–18 © Alex Israel. Photo by Jeff McLane
The Classical Now
March 2–April 28, 2018
King’s College, London
The Classical Now pairs the work of modern and contemporary artists with classical Greek and Roman antiquities. The exhibition traces the ways in which Greco-Roman art has captured and permeated modern imagination, while exploring the myriad continuities and contrasts between the ancient, modern, and contemporary, revealing the “classical” as a living and fluid tradition. Work by Michael Craig-Martin, Damien Hirst, Alex Israel, Yves Klein, Roy Lichtenstein, Henry Moore, Bruce Nauman, Pablo Picasso, and Rachel Whiteread is included.
Roy Lichtenstein, Temple, 1964 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
The Marciano Collection
May 25–September 16, 2017
Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles
Unpacking: The Marciano Collection is the debut presentation of the collection’s holdings organized by Philipp Kaiser. The title and theme of the show are derived from Walter Benjamin’s essay “Unpacking My Library,” in which he discusses the chaotic potentiality inherent in unpacking and recontextualizing one’s collection. Work by Mark Grotjahn, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Sterling Ruby, Cindy Sherman, Franz West, Jonas Wood, and Christopher Wool is included.
Photo by Robert Wedemeyer
99 Cents or Less
May 19–August 6, 2017
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
A major group exhibition of ninety-nine artists based in the United States addresses Detroit’s ongoing economic crisis and its 2013 bankruptcy. Four years after a federal judge approved Detroit’s bankruptcy-exit plan, the city’s financial present and future are still in flux. This exhibition is a reflection on the realities of a city that was once one of the country’s wealthiest and most diverse. Work by Piero Golia, Alex Israel, Adam McEwen, Josephine Meckseper, and Sterling Ruby is included.
Sterling Ruby, 99/MK, 2017. Photo by Robert Wedemeyer