Call Detail
Memento Mori and the Macabre
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Entry Deadline: 9/6/23
Application Closed

Entry Fee (Entry Fee): $16.00
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 3
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 3
Call Type: Exhibitions
Eligibility: Local
State: California

MEMENTO MORI AND THE MACABRE. Calling all enthusiasts of the darker imagination and those who value the beauty and fragility of life while recognizing that we all must die. If you are a fan of memento mori, vanitas, the macabre, or Halloween, this call for art is for you. Memento Mori and the Macabre is open to artists in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, CA. 

Memento mori is traditionally associated with trompe l’oeil still lifes that juxtapose skulls alongside butterflies, fruit, hourglasses, and other symbols of the fragility of life. It can be this, but can also encompass a broader range of symbols. Other artists who have been connected to this genre include such well-known figures as Picasso, Dali, Van Gogh, Goya, Edvard Munch, Hans Holbein, and Albrecht Durer. We will be looking for a broad range of expression from the ephemeral nature of life to the macabre, and different ways to express these ideas.

According to Tate Museum: “Vanitas are closely related to memento mori still lifes which are artworks that remind the viewer of the shortness and fragility of life (memento mori is a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember you must die’) and include symbols such as skulls and extinguished candles. However, vanitas still-lifes also include other symbols such as musical instruments, wine and books to remind us explicitly of the vanity (in the sense of worthlessness) of worldly pleasures and goods.”

Although not specifically a part of this genre, we recognize Day of the Dead as relevant to the exhibit and will welcome symbolism related to that.

The exhibition is in collaboration with Bunny King Productions in Huntington Beach. It will be an immersive experience in visual arts, music, and drama. In addition to the artwork, it will feature theatrical read-alouds from classical literature, an opera singer, a Masquerade Ball, four Taro Card readings, and an increased knowledge of the history and rituals associated with Memento Mori. Opening and closing events will include memento rituals and costumes. We planned it to coincide with Halloween, to make it popular with both families and adults. We anticipate a large and diverse audience.

Original works of art in the following media are welcome: sculpture and assemblage; paintings, drawings, and collage; photographs or digital art; and printmaking. Work must have been produced within the last five years.

Jurors: There will be three jurors from different disciplines, to be announced. They will evaluate work based on creativity, relevance, and craftsmanship. Craftsmanship is “the quality that comes from creating with passion, care, and attention to detail.” (Smashing Magazine)

Important Dates:

Deadline to submit work: Wednesday, September 6, 10PM.

Notification to artists: Week of September 18.

Work dropped off at the gallery: September 30, 10AM to noon; October 1, from 3 to 5PM.

Two Openings:  October 14 and 15, 1-4PM.

The show runs from October 14 to November 11, Friday through Sunday, 1-4PM, and special events.

Artists pick up work: November 11, 4-6PM, or November 12, 10AM to noon.

Deadline: Wednesday, September 6, at 10PM. We recommend you plan to submit your work at least one week before the deadline. So many little things can happen that require you to save your entry and get more information, retake a photograph, etc.

Application Requirements

Application requirements:

Maximum size in any direction: 36 inches, including the frame. Work exceeding these dimensions will be disqualified.

Sales: All work must be for sale, and be reasonably priced.

Ready to Hang: This means the work is delivered with the proper weight of picture wire and d-rings in a sturdy frame. No saw-toothed hangers! 

Paintings on canvas do not need frames, but the edges should be clean. Works on paper are generally framed.  Artists may be asked to provide their own pedestal for three-dimensional work, painted white and clean.

Work must be neatly and professionally presented. If work is brought in that is not professionally presented, it will not be included in the show.

Work must match the photograph. Any work that appears different from the photograph that was used to apply for the exhibit can be refused.

Submissions: There is a $16 non-refundable fee for entry, regardless of whether your work is selected for the show.

Each artist may submit a maximum of 3 works.

Photographing your work: All art should be photographed straight on, with a high resolution. Photos should be cropped to the edge of the image to eliminate background—such as the frame, or the surface behind the artwork.

Eligibility Criteria

Artists who meet one or all of the following criteria qualify to apply.

  • All artists who reside in Los Angeles County and Orange County, CA.
  • Grew up in Long Beach but no longer resides here.
  • Attend, or graduated from, CSULB or LBCC.