July 22 – August 14, 1999
The Annuale was conceived fourteen years ago as a means to showcase some of the most exciting young artists in Los Angeles. It has since become one of the most popular and anticipated events each year, closely watched by the local and national contemporary art communities. Many of the artists who have participated in past Annuales have progressed from obscurity to national and international significance.
In a new twist, the 1999 Annuale occurred in three parts — hence its new name, Tri-Annuale. Mounting the show incrementally, rather that at once, reflects the interest the show generates and is meant to sustain a deeper discussion about the work included in each part. It also reflects a desire to include fewer artists in each segment, thereby allowing the inclusion of larger and more ambitious artworks.
Each section of the Tri-Annuale was curated by artists rather than a museum curator, as has been done in the past. The curatorial involvement of artists offers a new perspective on the role artists have traditionally played in programming at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions as well as another look at the growing presence of artists as curators and the theoretical merging of curatorial and artistic practices.
Guest curator artist Andrea Zittel curates Tri-Annuale (PART 1) around a flexible interpretation of interiority and exteriority, choosing participants who are invested in ongoing explorations and public interactions with their projects.
The works created for Tri-Annuale (PART 1) were a participatory installation by Julien Bismuth, who continues an ongoing “epic”, which is as much about deciding how to decide to make art, as it is about the object-metaphors he uses to construct a visual poetry. During the installation, Bismuth performed on-site and documented a reading of the project’s “script” to a donkey. The footage and performance will become incorporated into Bismuth’s ever-expanding piece.
Also in the exhibition are an interactive sculpture by Matthew Greene, which explores the tension between the desire to suspend one’s disbelief and one’s imaginable lapse into disappointment; a set of short stairs extend from a meteor shaped frame which houses a small carpeted and wood-paneled room containing a single chair and overhead light fixture; a sort of nostalgia pod, the enclosure is large enough for a single viewer to close him/herself in a private, contemplative space.
Other works included are an enigmatic on-site/off-site installation by Anthony Burdin, situated in the artist’s car, parked behind Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Burdin’s performance-cum-sculpture-cum-shaggy dog tale challenges the viewer’s expectations by promising only not to make any promises. And, a large photographic work by Shawn King, depicts an underwear-clad victim/participant being removed/offered to an undisclosed location/source by a black-leather, biker-glass wearing woman in an obscure arid landscape. The work plays on the dramatic potential and intensification of an indexed moment.