Alex Israel was born in 1982 in Los Angeles, California. He received his B.A. in 2003 from Yale University, Connecticut, and his M.F.A. in 2010 from the University of Southern California, Roski School of Fine Arts, Los Angeles. Israel’s works are in the public 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 Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; 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 (2013); “Alex Israel at The Huntington,” The Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Garden, 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, D.C. (2018); and “Waves,” Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria (2018).
Based in Los Angeles, 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 re–framing 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.