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Alex Israel x Snapchat

Alex Israel x Snapchat

The Bass Museum announces the opening of Alex Israel x Snapchat, an exhibition of works that use Snap’s augmented reality (AR) technology to bring Alex Israel’s Self-Portraits to life.

Alex Israel x Snapchat is a unique collaboration between the Los Angeles-based artist and Snap. Invited to work with Snap’s advanced augmented reality team to expand upon his multi-disciplinary practice, Israel has created five augmented reality experiences, each linked to one of his Self-Portrait paintings. Five Lenses, unleashed in your smartphone, overlay Snap’s groundbreaking AR onto Israel’s physical works to give viewers an entirely new experience of painting. A site-specific sixth work leverages Snap’s Landmarker technology and interacts with the museum’s historic Art Deco façade. While Alex Israel x Snapchat debuted at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2019; this exhibition will unveil three brand new works and will be on view at The Bass in Miami Beach starting November 29 through May 1, 2022.

Alex Israel x Snapchat includes five of Israel’s iconic Self-Portraits, each enhanced by Snap’s Marker Tracking: technology that connects a digital, AR experience to a custom, physical object. The painted panels become portals to immersive, animated experiences. Self-Portrait (Drive) is a looping, psychedelic joyride through Israel and Snap’s hometown, Los Angeles. In other works, viewers will encounter the most ubiquitous of LA/Miami flora: a palm tree, a pelican by the sea, and a dancing avocado, each central to its own surreal adventure. A brand-new experience, Self-Portrait (The Painter), blends video and AR, with Israel performatively “painting” his Self-Portrait logo in digital light on a transparent fourth wall before magically breaking it.

Outside the museum, a site-specific sixth work uses Snap’s Landmarker technology and interacts with the museum’s historic Art Deco façade. Exaggerating the museum’s role as frame or vessel for art, Israel has repurposed the entire building as a pedestal for himself. Giant-sized and animated as a virtual sculpture, Israel’s avatar sits cross-legged, accompanied by Disney-esque critters in a pop-up enchanted forest, enlightened by a Baroque art history book.


For the last decade, Alex Israel’s art has embraced pop-culture as a global language. Trafficking in the invisible stardust of Hollywood and the detritus of film production—backdrops, sets and props—while riding the wave of the Internet and social media—as online talk-show host, eyewear and clothing designer, filmmaker and hologram—Israel’s art practice doubles as a brand, centered around a Southern Californian millennial lifestyle for which his iconic profile-in-shades-logo becomes a sly emblem, mobilized across high-visibility platforms from the worlds of art, entertainment, fashion and tech. Embedded within each of Israel’s endeavors is not only a landscape (of LA) and a portrait (of himself), but a cool and savvy meditation on a world fueled by celebrity, product placement and influence. A sort of sphinx behind dark lenses, the artist provokes an interrogation of the role of contemporary art in this new world.

Israel’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at: Le Consortium, Dijon; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino; Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo; and Fosun Foundation, Shanghai. His work is included in numerous museum collections worldwide including: MoMA, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; MOCA, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; and The Bass, Miami.


Snap Inc. is a camera company. We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. We contribute to human progress by empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together.

Image: Alex Israel, Self-Portrait (Pelican with Fish), 2019, Acrylic and bondo on fiberglass with Snapchat augmented reality Lens.

Alex Israel x Snapchat is organized by Silvia Karman Cubiñá. Alex Israel x Snapchat is supported by Snap, Inc.

The Bass is generously funded by the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; and The Bass membership.