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.
Alex Israel, Bettina Korek, Hans Ulrich Obrist
July 29–August 2, 2019, 10am–3pm
Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, Colorado
Alex Israel, Bettina Korek, and Hans Ulrich Obrist will host a five-day seminar for practicing artists at Anderson Ranch. Through lectures, discussions, readings, and critiques, the trio will guide artists deeper into the concepts behind their work and their agency in the art world.
Bettina Korek, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Alex Israel
Louis Vuitton X
June 28–November 10, 2019
Louis Vuitton X, Beverly Hills
Louis Vuitton X celebrates the fashion house’s 160-year history of artistic collaborations and marks the world premiere of the Artycapucines Collection. The line includes limited-edition reinterpretations of the label’s iconic Capucines bag by six artists including Urs Fischer, Alex Israel, and Jonas Wood. The exhibition also brings together a collection of early twentieth-century special-order trunks, art deco perfume bottles, iconic Monogram bags reworked by artists such as Frank Gehry and Cindy Sherman, and original collaborations by artists such as Richard Prince.
Jonas Wood’s limited-edition Louis Vuitton Artycapucines bag
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)
Feel the Sun in Your Mouth
August 24, 2019–February 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.
Tatiana Trouvé, Les indéfinis, 2014 (detail) © Tatiana Trouvé. Photo: Annette Kradisch
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
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