The city of Los Angeles is both background and subject in the respective oeuvres of Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis. 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 cliches and styles that exude the hygienic optimism endemic to the local scene.
The incisive sense of desire and brand recognition that they share make them among today's sharpest observers of the culture of pleasure, their art inseparable from the world in which it finds expression. The 2016-2017 Gagosian exhibition shown artist and writer at their most subliminal, comingling art as entertainment and entertainment as art: a bold new step in their ongoing distillations of the city of angels.
Text by Michael Tolkin and Alex Israel; Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation with Bret Easton Elis and Alex IsraelBrand Style: 978-0-8478-6100-2