: A Book About Death :

Historical Call 2014




The Royal Cambrian Academy                                                            
Academi Frenhinol Gymreig

Open Call: A Book About Death

An International Art Project exhibiting at the RCA
Organised by Sonja Benskin Mesher RCA UA


A BOOK ABOUT DEATH was launched as an underground, global art project in September 2009 at the Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery in New York City, New York. It was conceived and curated by American artist Matthew Rose as an open, unbound book on the subject of death. Taking the name, A Book About Death from the artist Ray Johnson, Rose paid homage to the founder of mail art and at the same time offered artists to explore the theme of death through post card sized works in an edition of 500; thus the “book.” The NYC exhibition was extremely well attended and set off a series of exhibitions around the world – ABAD – numbering thus far, 27, the most recent taking place in Australia. With an archival set of the New York ABAD show (487 works) new exhibitions touch upon particular, local themes but draw from a growing and global well of artists. All exhibitions invite artists to mail in their works, usually in post card format.


How to Enter:

Open call for art work from visual artists and writers etc to create A postcard size artwork 4 x 6 inches based on the theme of Death.

All work will be exhibited and archived and the artwork will not be returned but become part of the project.

Please post your artwork to address below by 30th September 2014

Work in the first instance to be sent to ( via post ):

Sonja Benskin Mesher, Y Stiwdio, Tynllan, Llanelltyd, Dolgellau, Gwynedd, LL40 2SU, Wales, UK.


Please, send your works well-packed and write NO COMMERCIAL VALUE on the envelope. The organisers are not responsible for any damage during the transportation.
There is no participation fee and the work may be exhibited in the future.
An online “live” archive will record the work and other details of the exhibition as the works come in.

Exhibition dates: October 18th to November 15th 2014

The Royal Cambrian Academy ABAD show in Wales will be the 28th ‘A Book about Death’ exhibition. Included will be the work from the initial New York exhibition, as well as works from from ABAD Wales, at MOMA Machynlleth.

18 thoughts on “: A Book About Death :

  1. Not sure where the edition of 500 comes in. Do you want one art work which can then be made into an edition of 500 or do you want the artist to produce the edition and send you all 500? I’m a screenprinter but 500 is still a pretty big edition for me.


  2. Hi John. The mention of 500 pieces is the history of the first event, sorry if it is misleading. The call says ‘ to create A postcard size artwork 4 x 6 inches based on the theme of Death.’ Yet if you wish to work on several that is ok.. Thank you for asking. x Sonja


  3. Hi Sonja – Did I read that a complete set of the NY collection and the complete MOMA, Wales collection of ABAD will also be included in this exhibit?

    Gary A. Bibb


  4. i’ll definitely make a piece, i have been making mail art works and collaborative mail art works for about 25 years and became familiar with ray’s work by happening into an exhibition of his work years after i had started doing it. he remains inspiring to me on so many levels. my one question is why these postcard sized artworks should not be mailed directly, without packaging? it seems that this would further respect the manner and energy of ray’s work. it seems a bit false to me to package mail art.



  5. I’m interested in taking part. A question: Does the art have to be in an envelope or can I pop it in the post like a postcard with the stamp and address on the back. It seems a little odd that mailart would be hidden in an envelope. I will most likely draw all over the envelope anyway.



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