Artist and filmmaker Alex Israel presented his first feature-length film, SPF-18, as part of Serpentine Cinema at Curzon Mayfair.
When you grow up in LA, real life and the movies can get a little mixed up. Eighteen-year-old Penny Cooper (Carson Meyer) spent years pining for high-school heartthrob Johnny Sanders Jr. (Noah Centineo) before his father’s tragic death brought them closer together. When a mysterious country musician Ash Baker (Jackson White) comes to town, Penny is torn.
Based in Los Angeles, Alex Israel engages with the particular culture of the local film and media industries. For Israel, the American dream, as embodied by the Los Angeles mythos, remains affecting and potent. Channeling celebrity culture as well as the slick appearance and aspirations of the entertainment capital, Israel approaches his hometown with an uncanny coupling of local familiarity and anthropological curiosity. Israel was born in 1982 in Los Angeles, California. He received his B.A. in 2003 from Yale University, Connecticut, and his M.F.A. in 2010 from the University of Southern California, Roski School of Fine Arts, Los Angeles. Israel’s works are in the public collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Following the screening, Alex Israel was in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist.