Alumnus designs artwork for Culver City mall


By Michelle Yousefzadeh

Alex Israel ’00 designed art installations for the new Westfield Culver City as part of the mall’s efforts to bring contemporary art into the commercial context. Israel said he was approached early in the fall by the director and curator of LAXART, a non-profit contemporary art exhibition space in Culver City, Lauri Firstenberg. She was searching for artists to design pieces for the launch of the newly renovated Fox Hills Mall, now Westfield Culver City.

Israel’s art is displayed on an interior billboard wall by the mall’s Sepulveda entrance and on the exterior wall adjacent to the parking lot. This was the first public exhibition of Israel’s artwork.

“The offer was incredibly exciting,” Israel said. “The opportunity to see my work produced at that scale and for that large an audience was truly a dream come true.”

Israel used the installations as an opportunity to advertise his other projects such as his sunglass brand Freeway Eyewear, his sunglass design L.A. RAYS, and web episodes titled Rough Winds. Rough Winds documents the lives of privileged, disaffected Southern California youth and is inspired by the writing of Bret Easton Ellis and the shows Beverly Hills 90210 and The Hills, Israel said.

“I incorporated all three logos into the pieces that I made for Westfield, and in the exterior piece I created a collage of imagery that expresses the Southern California lifestyle that both my sunglasses and my webisodes investigate,” Israel said.

Besides working on Freeway Eyewear and Rough Winds, Israel is currently working on his graduate school final thesis exhibition which will be displayed in a gallery at USC. The exhibit will include a classical sculpture show.