Marcel Dzama Curates a Show of Masks, from Cindy Sherman to Raymond Pettibon
"Be what you want to be," Marcel Dzama says of the theme of The Mask Makers, the booth he's curating for David Zwirner at Independent Brussels. "The mask is freedom, anonymity, a new identity or gender, and bridging us to the afterlife." The exhibition is rooted in Dzama's own fascination with masks, which have appeared in his work since the mid-1990s. Even as a child, Dzama was drawn to them, particularly the wooden Inuit masks at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and a Greek theater mask that his grandmother gave him when he was eight. "Since then," he says, "I've always taken note and enjoyed it when I saw other artists doing masks."
One such work that Dzama paid particular attention to was Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889, a complex oil painting by James Ensor of clownish clergymen and carnival goers that hangs at the Getty. The Mask Makers is a nod to the Belgian painter, and the booth will include some of his prints. There will also be contributions from Zwirner artists Mamma Andersson, R. Crumb, Sherrie Levine, Jockum Nordström, Raymond Pettibon, Jordan Wolfson, and Lisa Yuskavage, as well as works by David Altmejd, Peter Doig, James Ensor, Marilyn Minter and Cindy Sherman, among others. Dzama will also share several of his own works, including "The cast and crew of the revolutions"–a graphite drawing of costumes he designed for the New York City Ballet–which will be employed as wallpaper to create a contextual environment in the booth. Here, Dzama discusses some of the pieces in The Mask Makers, and opens up about his ongoing fascination with the disguises.