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Thursday, July 26, 2012

UMOCA Presents Alex Israel: AS IT LAYS @ 20 S West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT: Aug. 3-Sept. 29, 2012

Aug. 3-Sept. 29, 2012

Salt Lake City – The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the exhibition Alex Israel: AS IT LAYS. Los Angeles-based artist Alex Israel uses Hollywood as a material to produce videos, objects, performances, and installations. AS IT LAYS, 2012 employs the television talk-show format as a platform to produce contemporary portraits.

AS IT LAYS was filmed on a sunset-hued set and on locations in and around Hollywood. Creating sets using his own flat and backdrop artworks, Israel interviewed some of Hollywood’s most fascinating personalities in a manner that is uncomfortably blank and stoic.

In episode after episode, guests respond to different sets of 20 questions that were formed by the artist who plays the role of TV host. Bret Easton Ellis, Michelle Phillips, Marilyn Manson, Bobby Shriver, Rosanna Arquette, Vidal Sassoon, Ian Ziering, Oliver Stone, Whitney Port, Quincy Jones, and others respond to questions such as: “Have you ever thrown a party when your parents were out of town?”, “ Do you read your daily horoscope?”, “What are the key ingredients for your dream salad?”. “What are your thoughts on teen pregnancy?”, and “Have you ever been arrested?”. UMOCA is proud to present nearly five hours of AS IT LAYS.

“When I think about Los Angeles, I think about the groundbreakers, the iconoclasts, and the eccentrics—the individuals who shaped and molded this city. I had an opportunity to sit down with some of L.A.’s most fascinating personalities. Among them, I met a billboard queen, a California dreamer, a witness, a housewife, the voice of a generation, and a man who changed the world with a pair of scissors…”, said Israel.

The work investigates the absurd behaviors and quotidian rituals that make up the waking hours of each subject’s life. Through an awkward hilarity, these interviews deflate the mystique of Hollywood, engaging each participant in a humbling performance of the self.

AS IT LAYS throws red meat to our voracious appetite for celebrity culture. Beyond the din of flashbulbs and paparazzi, Israel’s talk show format and style of questioning bring the camera into a focus that levels the mystique of fame to the everyday existentialism of defining the self through Coke vs. Pepsi queries,” said Aaron Moulton, senior curator at UMOCA.
The opening of AS IT LAYS will occur during UMOCA’s monthly First Friday series on Aug. 3, 8-10 p.m. with DJ/DC, food, and a cash bar. Artist Alex Israel will offer an art talk at 7 p.m. prior to the party. August’s First Friday is generously sponsored by J. Jill.
Alex Israel’s recent exhibitions include Property (2011) at Peres Projects in Berlin, a solo show at LAXART in Los Angeles, the Venice Beach Biennial and the California Biennial (2010) in Orange County. The artist will have solo exhibitions at the Civic Diocese Museum in Citta’ della Pieve, Italy; Reena Spaulings in New York; and Almine Rech in Paris. Israel’s web series Rough Winds (2010) can be seen at roughwinds.com. AS IT LAYS (2012) debuted at Reena Spaulings in New York earlier this year.
The award-winning Utah Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits groundbreaking artwork by local, national, and international artists. Five gallery spaces provide an opportunity for the community to explore the contemporary cultural landscape through UMOCA’s exhibitions, films, events, classes, and presentations.

Founded in 1931, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art has been recognized as Best Museum in the State of Utah for 2011 and 2012 and is a four-time recipient of funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Located at 20 S. West Temple; open Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Friday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is free. For more information call (801) 328-4201 or visit www.utahmoca.org.

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