In this edition Alex Israel continues this harnessing of West Coast styles. Here, the artist has produced an embossed silkscreen print of an Illinois vanity license plate that reads “NRVOUS.” Perhaps riffing on the use of typography of California master conceptualist Ed Ruscha, Israel adds a crucial twist – an engagement with the output of LA’s culture industry, thus placing this piece distinctly within his own idiom. Israel has derived this image from the 1961 Ferrari that Ferris Bueller, in the eponymous John Hughes film, breaks out of his friend’s father’s Miesian glass box of a garage. The car serves as Ferris’s vehicle of choice during an epic day playing hooky from school. The resulting print not only has material depth, but, rendered in trompe l’oeil and sized to match the dimensions of the original plate, in turn, reproduces its referent while nevertheless remaining in the realm of the picture/screen – not unlike the simulacra generated, with spectacular efficiency, by the apparatuses of cinema and TV.
Work by Alex Israel is included in the collections of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Holland, MOCA, Los Angeles, CA, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, MoMA, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo.