In recent years the American contemporary artist Alex Israel (b. 1982, Los Angeles, USA) has attracted considerable attention in the international art scene, both for his paintings and sculptures and, not least, for his infamous interview show As It Lays.
In many ways Israel’s art can be understood as emerging from his Los Angeles-based life, and it is often referred to as a portrait of LA. This Californian city, with its vibrant film and pop culture, serves as source material, subject matter and muse for his art, in which he appropriates, transforms and comments on elements of the city’s aesthetic and spirit.
Israel draws inspiration from the American media and film industry, and creates paintings, sculptures and installations that also include elements from talk shows and performance art. In his iconic interview show As It Lays the artist, always wearing his trademark sunglasses, interviews B-listed or passé Hollywood celebrities, from Melanie Griffith to Paul Anka. In a profoundly monotonous manner he asks them questions ranging from the banal to the existential, generating situations that are both ambiguous and revealing, alternating between authenticity and parody. As a contemporary successor of pop art and Andy Warhol’s all-encompassing and revolutionary interpretation of the concept of art, Israel has a studio at Warner Brothers, where he takes advantage of the grandiose production potential of the film industry to create his works, from paintings and sculptures to his talk show and commercial sunglass collections. As a spillover effect between commercial products and artworks, his activities in the sunglass industry are also transformed into sculptural works that appear as hybrids of eyeglass lenses and the aesthetic and surface fetishism of Californian West-Coast minimalism.
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