Nasher Sculpture Center Announces Sightings: Alex Israel

Exhibition of work by Los Angeles artist to explore cultural influence of Hollywood movie industry

DALLAS, Texas (August 19, 2015) – Nasher Sculpture Center announces Sightings: Alex Israel on view from October 24, 2015 to January 31, 2016. The exhibition continues the Nasher’s Sightings series of exhibitions and installations by emerging and established contemporary artists.

The work of Alex Israel trafficks in the images and cultural eccentricities of his native Los Angeles and in the wider legacy of the readymade. From his sunglass company Freeway Eyewear to his YouTube talk show called As it LAys, wherein he interviews famous and not-so-famous Hollywood personalities in the style of a 1990s daytime talk show, Israel appropriates the iconic pop culture of LA to better understand its pervasive influence. In addition, Israel works with the set production crew on the Warner Brothers studio lot to create paintings of twilight and sunset skies in the manner of those typically used for movie and television studio backdrops. His use of these paintings as walls and sculptural structures within the gallery space creates an arena of theatricality both for the objects he places in proximity to them—often small sculptures derived from the Hollywood lexicon, or actual rented cinema props—and for viewers in the space.

“Alex Israel’s charismatic and nuanced work is at once a playful and deeply insightful look at the impact of the movies on wider culture. Using the trappings of the film industry, from sculptural references to the iconic objects from films to the performative lifestyles of celebrities, Israel compellingly highlights the role of Hollywood in everyday life. We are thrilled to see how he brings this to bear within the Nasher, in dialogue with the Nasher Collection,” says Director Jeremy Strick.

For his Sightings exhibition at the Nasher, Israel will exhibit new sculptures and paintings related to his first feature length film, SPF-18, due out later this year.  The work explores the genre of the teen surfing movie, using visual and narrative conventions common to after-school specials.  Israel’s installation will also combine new paintings and sculptural objects made in the vernacular vocabulary of Hollywood movies with objects from the Nasher Collection to make quasi-narrative installations within the gallery.

Alex Israel was born in 1982 in Los Angeles, CA, and currently lives and works there. A graduate of Yale University and University of Southern California, Israel has exhibited his work widely, including shows at Le Consortium, Dijon, France; The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York; and Gavin Brown’s Enterprises, New York. Israel is also the founder and owner of Freeway Eyewear Inc., a sunglass company with products named for the network of highways that run through his native Los Angeles.

Sightings is a series of small-scale exhibitions and installations that invites established and emerging contemporary sculptors from across Texas and around the world to create new work, sometimes in response to the unique collection and architectural context of the Nasher Sculpture Center.  The series focuses on artists whose work draws on modernist precedents, yet reconsiders accepted notions and generates new ideas about modern and contemporary sculpture.  In doing so, the exhibitions expand upon, invigorate, and re-contextualize the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, which is noted for its strong holdings in work by modern masters such as Calder, Giacometti, Matisse, Miró, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, and David Smith, among others. 

Alex Israel