Alex Schaefer
American , born 1969

Alex Schaefer is known for his vivid paintings of Los Angeles-based Chase Bank branches consumed by flames, which have been likened to Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles County Museum on Fire (1965–68) and serve as an expression of the current financial crisis. Often painting his subjects en plein air, Schaefer provoked the ire of Chase bankers when producing his work, prompting the police to question him as a terror suspect. “Some might say that the banks are the terrorists,” he has said. He has also painted images of foreclosed suburban homes and fake Chase-sponsored advertisements, such as one featuring Cabernet beer bongs. Schaefer again attracted the attention of the police, and was arrested, after staging a protest outside a Chase branch in downtown L.A., chalking the words “Crooks” next to a rendering of the Chase logo.

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