First Look: Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon's New Zine

In 1956, a 22-year-old Leonard Cohen published a small volume of poetry that he had penned between the ages of 15 and 20, titled Let Us Compare Mythologies. Evocative and compelling, it was a remarkably assured debut for such a young mind, inspired by the visionary Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca, who was executed by a fascist firing squad during the Spanish civil war. 60 years later, the significance of Cohen's verses continues to play on the minds of contemporary artists Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon, whose forthcoming collaborative exhibition at The Upper Room at David Zwirner London takes the same name.

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The Politics That Fed Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon's Apocalyptic New Zine

From alchemy and humour to mythology and the apocalypse, Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon's newest collaboration is the stuff of weird nightmares. Borrowing its name from Leonard Cohen's 1956 poetry book, Let us compare mythologies, the project spans a tightly curated zine, and large-scale drawings—all set to go on show at David Zwirner Gallery from next week.

Dzama here tells us he originally met Pettibon through the gallery, the pair having since embarked on numerous creative journeys together—the last of which was in 2015, when they staged a dual zine-exhibition project at David Zwirner New York, titled Forgetting the Hand. Now, to London.

Here they draw inspiration from America's current tempestuous political situation as well as music—in particular, the legendary Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. From iconic films, modernist literature and Surrealist rebel Duchamp, the wide-ranging themes of the show are fused together to create a visceral response that is reflected in the artworks. Stand guard—viewing the work tends to trigger feelings and reactions from deep within the subconscious.

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Marcel Dzama On Making Art and Listening to Mexican Garage Bands with Raymond Pettibon

Though Raymond Pettibon's Black Flag and SST Records illustrations had made him a punk legend by the early 80s, artist Marcel Dzama didn't discover Pettibon's work until 1990, when he bought a copy of Sonic Youth's seminal album Goo. Dzama was compelled by the record's iconic cover—a black and white drawing based on a paparazzi photo taken during the Moors murder trial—and by Pettibon's style. "I was a fan of early Golden Age comic illustrations from the 30s and 40s. It kind of reminded me of that feel, but a lot more poetic," Dzama explained over the phone from the back of a cab one afternoon. When Dzama moved to New York from his native Winnipeg in 2004, he stopped by one of Pettibon's shows at David Zwirner, the gallery which represents them both. Instantly, they hit it off. The artists hosted play dates for their young sons, and doodled on napkins at art world dinner parties when they got bored. At one such meal in London, Dzama and Pettibon started drawing on the tablecloth. "It was a huge collaboration with Chris Ofili, Jockum Nordström, I think even Luc Tuymans did some doodles on it too," Marcel says. "David wanted to keep the cloth, and the restaurant owner held it for ransom for a little bit!"

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