The Annuale was conceived thirteen years ago as a means to showcase young local artists and expose them to a noted curator from outside the Los Angeles area for the purpose of broadening the artist’s prospective audiences and the curator’s pool of artistic resources. In a departure from tradition, the artists in Annuale 1998 were not announced until the week before the show. This change was the result of a compressed selection process that allowed this year’s curator to not only select artists for inclusion, but to oversee the installation of the exhibition itself. It was meant to involve the curator more fully and to add a heightened element of anticipation to Annuale 1998.
This year’s curator, Franklin Sirmans, is both a critic and writer. He is head of the U.S. Editorial Desk of Flash Art International and is Consulting Editor of Nka, Journal of Contemporary African Art. He coedited the catalogue Transforming the Crown: African, Asian and Caribbean Artists in Britain, 1966-1996 (Caribbean Cultural Center, Bronx Museum of the Arts and The Studio Museum in Harlem; University of Chicago Press, 1997) and is currently at work on a travelling exhibition for the not-for-profit organization Umbra. He was the curator of “Acting Out: European Photo Project” at the Silverstein Gallery, New York, and was a contributor to the book of essays Arte Multietnica (Modena, Italy, 1998).