• On left: Installation view of Alex Israel
    On right: Alex Israel, Sky Backdrop Mural
  • On left: Alex Israel, As it Lays
    On right: Alex Israel, Installation view of #AlexIsrael


Learning From Cliché

Interview by Mariana Herrera


There’s a lot to learn from the surface of things — how and why certain surfaces glisten, who they attract, how they create and carry meaning. Likewise, there’s a lot to learn from clichés. LA is a city of surface and cliché, and I love thinking about both — not only to consider them as carriers of meaning, but also to consider how they might be reimagined or reframed to inspire new ideas.

MH In 2011-2012 you recorded a series of interviews called As it lays where you interviewed celebrities, but the final ques- tion was always the same. I will start this interview with that question: What do you want the world to know about Alex Israel?
AI I’ll borrow Bret Easton Ellis’ answer: Just that I’m a nice guy.
MH What does Popular Culture mean for you? What makes something popular?
AI Popular culture is the stuff that binds us together. It’s the
songs we sing along to in the car, the TV characters that become part of our families, the tabloid gossip that relieves us of our own realities and the gadgets that change our lives forever. It’s the ads, the novels, the theme-parks, the fad diets, the tweets and the viral videos that invade our cultural memory and help us break the ice with a stranger.
Popular Culture is our common denominator and our mirror, through which we see ourselves, sometimes pretty, sometimes not so much. The more people like it, the more popular it becomes.


  To read the full interview download MUSE 50