Here’s what the critics are saying about Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis:
“Cinematic . . . alternates between naïve optimism and cynicism via moments of soul-crushing distress.”
—Jan Tumlir, Artforum
“A model of frictionlessness in the marriage of language & art, art & capital, stasis & imperial fall.”
—Vanessa Place, Frog
“I’M GOING TO BE A DIFFERENT KIND OF STAR, splayed across the void above LA’s twinkling horizon as seen from the hills, was considerably more popular on Instagram.”
—Kevin McGarry, Vogue
“They do not seem to have realized that the 1980s are over.”
—David Pagel, Los Angeles Times
“Instead of spooky aphorisms about power, we get cheeseball romantic comedy dialogue…”
—Pete Wells, food critic, The New York Times
“A career-ender . . . flip, cynical, cellophane-thin.”
—Jerry Saltz, Vulture/New York Magazine
“The kind of collaboration that makes so much sense, we almost can’t believe it didn’t happen sooner.”
—Cait Munro, Artnet News
Gagosian is pleased to present new collaborative paintings by Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis, in the second joint exhibition by the visual artist and the writer. The exhibition comprises six works, shown in pairs and switched at regular intervals.
The collaborative paintings, the first of which were shown at Gagosian Beverly Hills last year, superimpose suggestive text written by Ellis and set in Los Angelean fonts over stock-photographic images—of sunsets, surf, aerial views of Los Angeles, and close-up details highlighting local architectural vernacular—selected and purchased online by Israel. These painted and printed works were fabricated at Warner Bros. by the production crews formerly responsible for hand-painting Hollywood film backdrops and Israel’s previous works.
Each of Ellis’s captions suggests a larger narrative or overarching story, of which the viewer is given only a glimpse: “This isn’t a real relationship,” she told him, shrugging. “It’s showbiz.” The hyperfilmic qualities of these monumental paintings are enhanced by their scale, akin to cinema screens. With their floating captions and outsize dimensions, the paintings resemble the credits of a feature film, or the billboards of the Sunset Strip. Taken together, they evoke a slideshow of the city’s subconscious: a surreal film pitch. In this sequel to the original collaboration, Los Angeles is once again both background and subject.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated publication, with an essay by Michael Tolkin and a conversation with the artists by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Alex Israel | Bret Easton Ellis
Hans Ulrich Obrist interviews the artist and writer about their recent collaboration.
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.
Diana Widmaier Picasso, curator of the exhibition Desire, reflects on the history of eroticism in art.