LA><ART is a leading independent nonprofit contemporary art space in Los Angeles, committed to the production of experimental exhibitions and public art initiatives.
Alex Israel’s billboard located at Sunset Boulevard and Olive Drive in West Hollywood features a self-portrait of the artist concurrently with his exhibition Lens on view at LA><ART from March 2 – April 20, 2013. Israel’s public billboard is produced by LA><ART Public Art Initiatives and ForYourArt - Los Angeles Public Domain (LAPD), in conjunction with Art Production Fund.
Lens is Los Angeles born and based artist Alex Israel’s first sculpture that has been made, not rented. The sculpture’s industrially machined form, high-polished plastic materiality and relationship to the Southern California sunshine link it to the history of LA art and design: the Finish Fetish or Cool School, Light and Space, Aerospace and Oliver Peoples. Works by Larry Bell, Robert Irwin and DeWain Valentine in particular come to mind, yet Israel’s work is not abstract.
In 2012, Israel’s Freeway sunglasses became part of his signature look for As It Lays, a televisual talk-show made for the internet in which the artists asks twenty questions each to a series of LA residents he terms “groundbreakers, iconoclasts, eccentrics.” In As It Lays, Israel’s sunglasses are key to the construction of the artist’s inscrutable image.
Lens, as a presence, is imposing and immovable, a monument to LA cool. It is simultaneously reflective and transparent, a self-evident work that meditates on life under a constant, perfect sun.
(Image: Alex Israel, billboard mockup; Courtesy of the artist)