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.
Beverly Hills 20-Year Anniversary Invitational Exhibition, 1995–2015
October 30–December 19, 2015
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.
Always On My Mind
Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 6:15pm
Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London
Join Gagosian for a tour of Alex Israel: Always On My Mind, an exhibition of new Self-Portraits by the artist, led by Gagosian director Millicent Wilner. In this ongoing series of photorealistic paintings, Israel frames quintessential Los Angeles scenery and snippets from his daily life inside crisp cut-out silhouettes of his own profile. The artist addresses the effortless visual gloss that twenty-first-century image culture and social media demand of their participants. To attend the free event, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited.
Installation view, Alex Israel: Always On My Mind, Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, January 16–March 14, 2020. Artwork © Alex Israel. Photo: Lucy Dawkins
Online Viewing Room
Frieze Los Angeles 2020
February 10–19, 2020
Gagosian will launch its latest Online Viewing Room on the occasion of Frieze Los Angeles, with available works by Chris Burden, Alex Israel & Bret Easton Ellis, Neil Jenney, Albert Oehlen, Chris Ofili, David Reed, Ed Ruscha, Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, Tatiana Trouvé, and Jonas Wood. Many of the artworks included in this virtual presentation consider the political, geographical, and social landscapes of Los Angeles.
The Frieze Los Angeles 2020 Online Viewing Room will open at 12:00am on Monday, February 10, in Hong Kong, and close at 11:59pm on Wednesday, February 19, in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
For more information about the Online Viewing Room or the work to be featured, please contact email@example.com.
Chris Burden, L.A.P.D. Uniform, 1993 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Frieze Los Angeles 2020
How to Shrink L.A.
February 14–16, 2020, booth C06
Paramount Picture Studios, Los Angeles
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Frieze Los Angeles 2020. Taking Los Angeles’s system of highways as a literal and figurative backdrop, the selection includes Richard Prince’s full-scale car sculpture Untitled (2008) and Chris Burden’s ominously oversize L.A.P.D. Uniform (1993). The booth also includes work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, Theaster Gates, Piero Golia, Alex Israel, Sally Mann, Adam McEwen, Cady Noland, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Taryn Simon, Robert Therrien, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, and others.
Chris Burden, How to Shrink L.A., 1999 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Art and the Studio System
November 7, 2019–March 1, 2020
Yuz Museum, Shanghai
In Production: Art and the Studio System emphasizes the overlapping histories of visual art and film, with a particular focus on how the site of the studio, both in visual arts and in cinematic production, has radically shifted in the last twenty years. The exhibition highlights the exceptional gifts and acquisitions related to film and video that have entered the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s permanent collection in recent years including work by Piero Golia, Douglas Gordon, Alex Israel, and Mike Kelley.
Douglas Gordon, Déjà-Vu, 2000 , installation view, Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles. Artwork © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020 . D.O.A., 1950, USA. Directed by Rudolph Maté. Produced by Joseph H. Nadel, Harry M. Popkin, and Leo C. Popkin. Distributed by United Artists © Cardinal Pictures. Photo: Brian Forrest
Feel the Sun in Your Mouth
August 24, 2019–February 2, 2020
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
This exhibition brings together artworks acquired by the museum over the past five years with a focus on art that incites sensation and demonstrates a renewed interest in sublime encounters with the world. Spanning a period of extreme technological growth that has led us from the first steps on the moon to the development of the Internet, this exhibition illuminates a return to the poetic, the intuitive, and the cosmic in current artistic practice. Work by Alex Israel, Tatiana Trouvé, and Mary Weatherford is included.
Mary Weatherford, Engine, 2014, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC © Mary Weatherford
June 8–August 31, 2019
MAMO–Marseille Modulor, France
Alex Israel at MAMO occupies the rooftop deck and former gymnasium of Le Corbusier’s iconic Cité Radieuse. Inspired by Marseille’s gritty history and the architect’s use of concrete, Alex Israel has reimagined the building as Gotham City, and as a temporary home for two new works appropriated from Tim Burton’s Batman (1989). Continuing the artist’s ongoing exploration of rented film props as readymade sculpture, the Batmobile serves as the centerpiece of an installation with smoke, light, and sound, while the Bat-Signal, projected high above the city, activates the night sky throughout the summer.
Installation view, Alex Israel, MAMO–Marseille Modulor, France, June 8–August 31, 2019. Artwork © Alex Israel
Alex Israel × Snapchat
June 17–21, 2019
Le Centre d’art La Malmaison, Cannes, France
Invited to collaborate with Snap’s advanced augmented reality (AR) team, Alex Israel has expanded his multidisciplinary practice through the creation of five new experiences, each linked to one of his Self-Portrait paintings. These five “Snap-Portraits,” unleashed in the user’s smartphone, overlay Snap’s groundbreaking AR onto Israel’s physical works to give viewers an entirely new experience of painting.
© Alex Israel