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b. 1982, USA

Alex Israel Biography

Contemporary artist Alex Israel examines through his work the culture of film and media industries in his native Los Angeles. He works across a range of media including painting, film, and sculpture. Israel received a Bachelor of Arts at Yale University in 2003 and then went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Fine Arts in 2010.

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Reflecting on his home town with both a sense of sentimentality and curiosity, Israel’s body of work serves as an anthropological study of celebrity culture and the idealised American dream. His works are an homage to LA, rather than a critique, and offer an insight on an obsession shared by many, about Hollywood and all it represents. His 2015 work Casting, a replica of the mould from which Oscar awards are made, is yet another reflection of the infatuation with celebrity.

Among Israel’s most notable works is his talk show As It Lays, a series of 33 televisual portraits of iconic celebrities who have contributed to Los Angeles’ cultural history. Guests, who have included such names as Molly Ringwald, Quincy Jones, Marilyn Manson, and Bret Easton Ellis, are asked a series of mundane questions read from note cards and are tasked with determining their own portrait.

The artist’s recent solo exhibitions have included #AlexIsrael at Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2016); Summer at Almine Rech gallery, Paris (2015); The Los Angeles Project at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2014); and Alex Israel: Self-Portraits at Peres Projects, Berlin (2013).

Alex Israel Featured Artworks

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Pelican by Alex Israel contemporary artwork
Alex IsraelPelican, 2017External: Acrylic on fiberglass. Internal: stainless steel, aluminum, plastic
38 x 203 x 119 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Self-Portrait (Wetsuit) by Alex Israel contemporary artwork
Alex IsraelSelf-Portrait (Wetsuit), 2017Acrylic on aluminum
140 x 61 x 45.7 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Self-Portrait (Wetsuit) by Alex Israel contemporary artwork
Alex IsraelSelf-Portrait (Wetsuit), 2017Acrylic on aluminum
140 x 61 x 45.7 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Self-Portrait (Wetsuit) by Alex Israel contemporary artwork
Alex IsraelSelf-Portrait (Wetsuit), 2017Acrylic on aluminum
140 x 61 x 45.7 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Self-Portrait (Wetsuit) by Alex Israel contemporary artwork
Alex IsraelSelf-Portrait (Wetsuit), 2017Acrylic on aluminum
140 x 61 x 45.7 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Self-Portrait (Wetsuit) by Alex Israel contemporary artwork
Alex IsraelSelf-Portrait (Wetsuit), 2017Acrylic on aluminum
140 x 61 x 45.7 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Self-Portrait (Wetsuit) by Alex Israel contemporary artwork
Alex IsraelSelf-Portrait (Wetsuit), 2017Acrylic on aluminum
140 x 61 x 45.7 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
The Big Chill by Alex Israel contemporary artwork
Alex IsraelThe Big Chill, 2012-2013Marble and styrofoam cup
12.7 x 7.6 x 7.6 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery

Alex Israel Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Hong Kong Exchange at Gagosian, Hong Kong
Closed
28 January–30 April 2021 Group Exhibition Hong Kong Exchange GagosianHong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Alex Israel, Always On My Mind at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London
Closed
16 January–14 March 2020 Alex Israel Always On My Mind GagosianGrosvenor Hill, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Alex Israel, Summer 2 at Almine Rech, Rue de Turenne, Paris
Closed
10 June–29 July 2017 Alex Israel Summer 2 Almine RechRue de Turenne, Paris

Alex Israel Represented By

Almine Rech contemporary art gallery in Brussels, Belgium Almine Rech Aspen, Paris, Brussels, London, New York, Shanghai
Gagosian contemporary art gallery in 980 Madison Avenue, New York, USA Gagosian New York, Athens, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Le Bourget, Geneva, Basel, Rome, Hong Kong

Alex Israel In Ocula Magazine

Alex Israel Ocula Conversation Alex Israel By Stephanie Bailey, Paris

In an essay for Art in America which he wrote in 2013, Alex Israel states of the 90s television classic Saved by the Bell that as a kid growing up in LA, this ‘was the realest thing [he] knew.’ Israel goes on to explain that after going to college (at Yale), the show ‘became the "ultrasimplistic, hyperstereotypical...

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Finding The Desert In The Desert: The Los Angeles Project At Ucca, Beijing Ocula Feature Finding The Desert In The Desert: The Los Angeles Project At Ucca, Beijing By Robin Peckham, Beijing

Ask a Beijing artist where they would like to spend time abroad living, working, seeing exhibitions, meeting artists and curators, and the answer is invariably New York. Aside from the obvious attractions, New York appears culturally exotic; there seems to be a consensus that Beijing, as an art center and urban environment, operates somehow...

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Alex Israel In Related Press

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Preview: Art Brussels Related Press Preview: Art Brussels 19 April 2017, Elephant

'Art Brussels believes in galleries that support their artists throughout their evolution... We are definitely not interested in showing work in a supermarket-like style.' We speak with Anne Vierstraete, Managing Director of Art Brussels, as the fair nears its thirty-fifth edition.

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Overpop Related Press Overpop 19 December 2016, ArtAsiaPacific

With two years' worth of research and multiple studio visits by the Yuz Museum's founding director Budi Tek and his team, along with New York-based gallerist Jeffrey Deitch and Karen Smith, director of OCAT Xi'an contemporary art center in China—the exhibition Overpop developed into a cross-cultural exchange of artists who are seen as a new...

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The art in this show followed me out of the museum, told me I was going to die Related Press The art in this show followed me out of the museum, told me I was going to die 16 September 2016, Observer

At the Jewish Museum, Halloween lovers can trick-or-treat a month early. In Take Me (I’m Yours), which opened today, all of the works by a roster of 42 international artists can be taken away. Visitors can leave with a T-shirt designed by Rirkrit Tiravanija, a blue and red pin conceived by Alex Israel, a tissue from Haim...

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Explore LA's fame obsession with giant 3D postcards Related Press Explore LA's fame obsession with giant 3D postcards 4 July 2016, The Creators Project

Is there more to LA than being the home of Hollywood and the epicenter of celebrity culture? Undoubtedly, but it is through the city’s many clichés that artist Alex Israel seeks to better understand the metropolis and the larger fame-driven culture. The LA-born artist’s solo show, #AlexIsrael, at Oslo’s Astrup Fearnley Museum of...

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