September 28, 2017–January 7, 2018
Drawing on a Revolution presented both early and recent drawings, dioramas, sculptures, and videos by Marcel Dzama across three rooms at La Casa Encendida.
Each room in the exhibition corresponded to works in different media. The first room presented drawings ranging from Dzama's earliest portrayals of animals and humans to more recent works based on the theme of "revolution." The second room was devoted to the artist's sculptural projects, including costume designs and puppets. In the third room, a screening of the video work Une danse des bouffons (A Jester’s Dance) (2013) was accompanied by a storyboard for the film in Spanish—including graphite drawings of every character and scene—that was created specially for this exhibition.
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with an introduction by Lucía Casani and texts by Estrella De Diego and fellow David Zwirner artist Raymond Pettibon. Published by La Casa Encendida.
In a new zine launched at the 2017 edition of Printed Matter's LA Art Book Fair, Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon turn their distinctive artistic collaboration to address recent political events. This 36-page full-color zine includes drawings, collages, comic strips, and protest posters. The result is the artists' personalized version of a political pamphlet filled with vibrant, vocal responses to topical subject matter. Dzama's Instagram account features images of some of the works, posted directly from the studio as he and Pettibon were making them.
This is the fourth zine the two artists have produced together. Their first, Dzama / Pettibon (2015), published by David Zwirner Books to coincide with Printed Matter's New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1, assembled a series of works they created using the "exquisite corpse" method in which they traded drawings and developed each other's compositions.
Well-known for prolific drawings that incorporate diverse influences into his own visual language, Dzama has expanded his practice in recent years to encompass sculpture, painting, film, costume design, and dioramas. Pettibon—for whom this ongoing project is a rare collaboration with another artist—has been making zines since the late seventies. His commitment to the spectrum of "low" and "high" culture, from comics and album covers to literary references, has long been an inspiration for Dzama. Over 700 works by Pettibon were presented in the solo exhibition A Pen of All Work at the New Museum in New York in February 2017. The exhibition travels to the Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht in The Netherlands in June 2017. In April, the gallery presented The Mask Makers, a special project curated by Dzama, at Independent Brussels.
Proceeds from sales of the zine were donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. Published by David Zwirner Books.
Marcel Dzama curated the booth for the gallery's second participation in Independent Brussels, which he titled "The Mask Makers." Dzama presented works from the gallery's roster of artists and beyond that relate to the theme of the mask, a prevalent motif within Dzama's own practice that draws on his interest in Surrealist iconography. First appearing as a figurative element in his works on paper in the mid-1990s, and since incorporated into his large-scale drawings, paintings, and films, masks were most recently featured in the artist's critically-acclaimed stage and costume design for the New York City Ballet's The Most Incredible Thing in 2016, a performance choreographed by Justin Peck and based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale.
Dzama created a self-contained environment featuring both historical and new works across several genres, including some made specifically for the space. In addition to his own works, there were contributions by gallery artists Mamma Andersson, R. Crumb, Sherrie Levine, Jockum Nordström, Raymond Pettibon, Lisa Yuskavage and Jordan Wolfson, and works by David Altmejd, Peter Doig, James Ensor, Marilyn Minter, Cindy Sherman, Rose Wylie, and others.
Dzama notes on the theme for the booth: "Be what you want to be, the mask is freedom, anonymity, a new identity or gender, and bridging us to the afterlife."
Born in 1974 in Winnipeg, Canada, Marcel Dzama lives in Brooklyn, New York. Since joining David Zwirner in 1998, he has had eight solo exhibitions at the gallery in New York and London, and two exhibitions dedicated to his collaborations with Raymond Pettibon.
Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon began collaborating in the summer of 2015, creating works by swapping drawings in the "exquisite corpse" method, in which a partner is only given portions of an otherwise concealed drawing to work on. The drawings first appeared in Dzama / Pettibon, a zine published to coincide with Printed Matter's 2015 New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1. Produced in an edition of 200, the zine sold out on the first day of the fair.
An expanded second edition of the zine was later published for Forgetting the Hand, an exhibition of the artists' collaborative works at David Zwirner in New York. The second edition included 20 additional drawings and a text by poet Andrew Durbin. The collaboration continued as Dzama and Pettibon created works for the exhibition Let us compare mythologies, which was on view at the London gallery later in 2016.
In a fourth zine launched at the 2017 edition of Printed Matter's LA Art Book Fair, Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon turn their distinctive artistic collaboration to address recent political events. This 36-page full-color zine includes drawings, collages, comic strips, and protest posters. The result is the artists' personalized version of a political pamphlet filled with vibrant, vocal responses to topical subject matter. Dzama's Instagram account features images of some of the works, posted directly from the studio as he and Pettibon were making them.
In February 2016, the New York City Ballet debuted The Most Incredible Thing with sets and costumes designed by Marcel Dzama. Choreographed by New York City Ballet Resident Choreographer Justin Peck, the ballet is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1870 fairy tale of the same name.
The ballet project presented an opportunity for Dzama, who frequently collaborates with fellow artists and friends, to forge new partnerships. The creative forces behind the ballet—Brandon Stirling Baker (lighting), Bryce Dessner (score), Marcel Dzama, Justin Peck (choreography)—spoke about their collaboration on a panel in the Guggenheim museum's Works & Process series.
Dzama was also the first artist to simultaneously create work for the New York City Ballet's Art Series at the same time as a ballet production. During the premiere run of The Most Incredible Thing, an installation of Dzama's works occupied the promenade of the David H. Koch Theater at the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. The installation featured two massive projections of a preview of Dzama’s film A Flower of Evil starring Amy Sedaris, as well as sculpture, drawings, and preparatory sketches related to the ballet's set and costume designs.
To accompany the ballet project, David Zwirner Books published The Book of Ballet (La chose la plus incroyable dans le monde). The book illustrates Hans Christian Andersen's story and includes Dzama's sketches of the ballet's sets and costumes. These drawings depict both final and preliminary designs, charting the artist's creative process. An interview between Dzama and choreographer Justin Peck concludes the book.
A conversation about instinct in creative practice that nods to punk rock, fatherhood, and the ethics of artistic expression.
In the fifth episode of Dialogues, artist Marcel Dzama—known for his whimsical style, distinctive color palette, and varying mediums that include drawing, sculpture, film, and costume design—is paired with musician and composer Will Butler, a key member of the indie-rock band Arcade Fire. Recounting influences from their upbringings that range from Duchamp to biker culture, Vikings to variety shows, the duo discuss the role of art as a form of revolution in the current political climate. The series is hosted by Lucas Zwirner, Editorial Director of David Zwirner Books.
See Dzama’s work in the exhibition Marcel Dzama: A Jester’s Dance on view at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor through September 23, 2018.
Watch Will Butler perform live in Arcade Fire, currently on tour through North America. Visit everythingnow.com for tour dates and more information.
Produced in partnership with Slate Studios, Dialogues: The David Zwirner Podcast is the latest installment in a series of initiatives celebrating the gallery’s twenty-fifth anniversary, which launched in January 2018 with a multi-gallery retrospective in New York and the opening of David Zwirner Hong Kong. "While this year marks an important milestone for the gallery, we continue to look and move forward, whether it be opening a new gallery or exploring new mediums," says David Zwirner. "This is one of the many digital initiatives we are embarking on, to both engage with new audiences and further our artists’ voices."
Image: Will Butler and Marcel Dzama in Studio D at Slate Media studios, New York, July 2018. Photo by Zac Casto.