D-L Alvarez works in a range of medium including drawing, sculpture, prose, film, and video. He frequently collaborates with others and credits this process—in which the outcome is unknowable by any single partner in the collaboration—as informing even his solo projects, which have built-in “blind spots”: parts of the process that incorporate unknowable conditions.
In his exhibitions he interrogates historical and cultural moments and imagery, using distortion, humor, or both in a manner that mimics the way loaded representation exceeds the viewer’s ability to process its significance. His primary focus is the biases that play into how history is recorded doubling as a sort of autobiography of the “historian,” and Alvarez applies his own biases in the particular histories he makes subject. These subjects include: music, political uprisings, and cults of Southern California in the late-Sixties, the depiction of pedagogy in mid-century main-stream narrative film, and the shifts that happened in gay politics and in popular comedy during the mid-to-late-Seventies.
Alvarez’s film work screened in the 48th Venice Biennale, his drawings are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and others, and he received his first museum solo-exhibition in 2012 at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives.