Last week, Alex Israel presented his first solo project As It Lays, a series of 30 televisual portraits featuring iconic and influential Angelenos. Sam, Noah, and I made it out to the one-night project at the Henson Soundstage, a historic studio complex built by Charlie Chaplin.
Filmed on a sunset-hued set that Israel constructed in his studio and on locations in and around Hollywood, the talk show conflates the traditional art of portraiture with the pop technology of mainstream media. As It Lays is a hallucinatory swatch of LA space and time. Here, the abstraction of celebrity presence and screen time are reframed via an artwork that appropriates the repetitive, sedentary structure of the TV talk show. Alex answered a couple of my questions after the show.
Jenny Le: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Alex Israel: I'd like to be able to fly.
JL: Is there anywhere you haven't been that you want to go?
AI: Epcot Center
JL: What is your most constant source of inspiration?
AI; My city, LA.
JL: Do you prefer to be the driver or the passenger?
AI: It depends on my mood. Most of the time I like to drive, but other times, not having to drive is the greatest luxury of all.
JL: What are your thoughts on long distance relationships?
AI: I don't want to imagine what they would've been like a hundred years ago.
JL: Do you believe in reincarnation?
AI: Not sure, but I definitely believe in second chances.
JL: What do you want the world to know about Alex Israel?
AI: I didn't go to Crossroads High School and invent a parking spot App; That's the other Alex Israel.
JL: Do you prefer taking a bath or taking a shower?
AI: I'm a shower guy
JL: What film could you watch on repeat for days?
AI: The Endless Summer
JL: If you had one day left on Earth, describe your ideal day.
AI: It would be an all day BBQ and dance party with my friends and loved ones. Right before the asteroid hit Earth, we'd all say good night, and fall fast asleep.
JL: Do you kiss with your eyes open or closed?
JL: Have you have seen a unicorn?
JL: If you were in a bad mood, what could make you instantly happy?
AI: The perfect pop song