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.
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).