Alex Israel

10 Jun 2016 – 11 Sep 2016

Event times

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday




Saturday, Sunday


Mondays closed

Cost of entry

Members: Free entrance
Admission: 120,-
Student: 80,-
Children under 18: Free entrance
Oslo Pass: Free entrance

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Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art

Oslo, Norway


Travel Information

  • Routes 21 and 54 stop on Bryggetorget. Route 33 stops on Filipstadveien. Routes 32, 33, 54, 122, 129 and 132 stop on Vika Atrium.
  • The nearest tram station is Aker Brygge (Lines 12 and 16, 500 metres approx). The nearest Metro station is Nationaltheateret (all lines, 1,100 metres approx).
  • The nearest mainline train station is Nationaltheateret (all lines, 1,000 metres approx).
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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. 

Israel’s painterly production includes both his characteristic self-portraits and series of paintings based on stage panels and backdrops from the film industry, as in the Flats and Skyline Backdrop paintings. Self-portraits in fibreglass are cut in the shape of the artist’s recognisable, sunglass-clad profile, and are repeated in endless colour variations like a logo – as a parallel to the artist’s obsessive focus on branding and the persona, which is also reflected in the contemporary construction of identity in the profile pictures of social media. TheSkyline Backdrop paintings consist of attractive colour-graded surfaces that imitate pastel-hued Californian sunsets. The result is an aesthetic that hovers at the borderline between neo-abstraction and a theatrical representation of reality. Like the city of their origin, they are experienced as an interface of attractive surfaces and underlying hollowness and simulation. In their circling around such themes as the film industry, celebrity culture and the American dream, their mechanisms are both embraced and, at the same time, exposed in all their ambiguity.

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Alex Israel


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