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Call for Artists: ARCHIVE MACHINES


Call for Artists 

Juried online-only exhibition

Exhibition dates: July 30 – November 1, 2020



In line with our mission to respond to the diversity of human experience that shapes Los Angeles, we are pleased to announce an open call for a juried exhibition to be presented online-only at www.lamag.org from July 30 – November 1, 2020. Due to the rapidly shifting nature of present events, this exhibition is conceived as a response in both form and concept to the COVID-19 crisis and the uncanny experience of collective life on pause that shelter-in-place has initiated.


As production has halted across industries, an impulse to cull from the past and re-present content from archives has emerged. Whether it is re-watching an old film, tuning into a re-broadcasting of sports icons’ classic moments, revisiting an old familiar book off the shelf, or even reorganizing neglected junk drawers; we have noted a collapse of tenses through compulsory streams of archives as we sort through our past and present.


For many, the current crisis has upended routine daily life, and with this sudden interruption brings a rare opportunity for many to pause—a cultural institution is no different, and we here at LAMAG have been busy taking this moment of rumination to attend to our archive that documents over sixty years of artistic activity that has impacted Los Angeles. LAMAG curatorial staff revisited the 1979 group exhibition “The Artist as Social Critic” curated by LAMAG’s inaugural trailblazing director, Josine Ianco-Starrels (1926-2019). We found inspiration in this exhibition that supported practices of social critique and presented diverse voices challenging issues of their time.


While the LAMAG staff takes inspiration from this specific archival material, we aim to limit our selective revisiting of the past and instead turn open our examination of the archive as a conceptual vehicle. Rather than reprise an archived exhibition, we invite Los Angeles artists to activate archives by submitting works in response to themes of critical histories, peoples archives, memory and institutional critique. Through this exhibition, LAMAG strives to engage with various modes of artistic production that explore the ways in which archival structures and materials are interpreted, appropriated, and interrogated.


All entries to the exhibition will be selected by the following jury panel: Olivian Cha, Curator and Collections Manager, Corita Art Center, Los Angeles, CA; Kerstin Erdmann, Director, Galería OMR, Mexico City, Mexico; and Rita Gonzalez, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head Contemporary Art, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA.



  • Open to all artists residing in Southern California.
  • Submitting artists must be over the age of 18.
  • Works must be original and have been completed since January 1, 2018.
  • City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs employees are ineligible.


Submission Deadlines and Overview

ARCHIVE MACHINES, an online-only exhibition, aims to rethink how we engage with artworks in person and online. We encourage a variety of submission types including photography, video, audio based works such as oral histories or sound based artworks, text and research based work, and image documentation of a painting,  sculpture, drawings, prints. We encourage thoughtful consideration of the online viewing experience and the documentation of physical artworks.


Check back here on Friday, June 5 for the link to submit your work(s).


NOTE: Submissions will not be accepted prior to the listed open date nor after the listed closing date. LAMAG staff cannot enter submissions on your behalf. 


Read more about submission requirements, submission deadlines, and how to submit below:

Submission Requirements

Participants may submit up to three (3) digital files in response to the prompt.


Files must be labelled in the following format: “Last Name_First Name_Artwork Title_Year of Creation”. Example: “Purifoy_Noah_Untitled_1970.jpg”


All submissions must be finished artworks at the time of submission. There will be no opportunity to send new files after your submission nor if your work is selected to be in the exhibition. All submissions must be artwork completed since January 1, 2018.


All entries must be original works. All participants are responsible for ensuring submissions are not in violation of copyright law or plagiarism guidelines.


Images: files must be less than 5 MB and no larger than 1280 x 1280 x 72 ppi. Acceptable image file types include .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .tif, .tiff, .bmp, .tga


Video: we can only accept linked media already hosted on www.youtube.com and/or www.vimeo.com in which an embed code can be provided. All videos must meet ADA accessibility standards by providing available closed caption and audio transcription as a .pdf. This applies to videos with spoken dialog, music, and/or other sounds. Click here for more information on closed captioning.


Audio: files must be less than 30 MB. Acceptable audio file types include .mp3, .wma, .ogg, .flac. All audio files must meet ADA accessibility standards by providing audio transcription as a .pdf.


Documents: must be less than 10 MB. Acceptable formats include .pdf.

Submission Deadlines and How To Submit

Submission opensFriday, June 5, 2020

Submission closesFriday, June 12, 2020, midnight PST

Notification of successful entries: Sunday, July 5, 2020


Submissions will only be accepted via SlideRoom. Any submissions submitted submitted not through SlideRoom will not be accepted. The link to submit will be available here when the call for submissions opens on Friday, June 5.

Please review the F.A.Q. section below for additional information. If you have any questions about this opportunity, contact us at lamagarchives@lacity.org.


Is there an entry fee?

No, there is no entry fee.


I’m having trouble submitting through SlideRoom. Can I email my submission instead?

We are only accepting submissions through SlideRoom. If you are having technical issues, contact us at lamagarchives@lacity.org. Please note, however, we anticipate an increase in the volume of inquiries and questions so it is recommended you submit your digital file(s) as soon as possible to preempt any technical issues. LAMAG staff will not submit any digital files on your behalf.


Why do I need to have closed captioning and/or audio transcripts for my video and/or audio work?

In accordance with the Title II of the ADA, Section 35.160 requires the public entity to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as with others. Further, a public entity’s services, programs, or activities, when viewed in their entirety, must be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. This standard, known as “program accessibility,” applies to all existing facilities of a public entity.


Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, which is governed under the City of Los Angeles. The City of Los Angeles needs to ensure that programs, services, and activities are accessible to individuals with disabilities and it is necessary that all video and/or audio programming are closed captioned and audio described to allow full participation in programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities.


I have an earlier artwork that is long term and ongoing. Can I still submit it if it has not been completed since January 1, 2018?

An ongoing project is appropriate to submit for this exhibition as long as it is still actively being worked on.


Why is the age requirement 18 and over?
For the City of Los Angeles, adult programs begin with age 18 and this one is no different.