A full Dzama monograph would’ve been lovely, but we’re probably OK with reading words, too? Forget scholarly annotations; (re-)contextualize Shakespeare’s lines with Dzama’s shimmering colors and bold lines. Feed everyone’s inner theater kid and help yourself, friends, and family create new connections with part of the literary, poetic, and theatrical canon.
Set in an enchanted forest, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the ideal subject for artist Marcel Dzama, whose work frequently references dreams, fairy tales, and mythical worlds.
Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Shakespeare’s celebrated romantic comedy intertwines multiple narratives under the influence of transformation and witchcraft. The play is often staged with actors wearing animal masks, an aspect which appeals particularly to Dzama, whose work is characterized by the fusion of human and animal, fantasy and reality.
The second title in David Zwirner Books’s Seeing Shakespeare series revisits the ultimate fairy tale through the eyes of a contemporary artist who feels a special affinity for its imagery.
About the Author
Since rising to prominence in the late 1990s, Canadian-born artist Marcel Dzama (b. 1974) has developed an immediately recognizable visual language that investigates human action and motivation, as well as the blurred relationship between the real and the subconscious. Drawing equally from folk vernacular as from art-historical and contemporary influences, Dzama’s work visualizes a universe of childhood fantasies and otherworldly fairy tales.
Leslie Jamison is the New York Times best-selling author of The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath (2018), a critical memoir; two essay collections, The Empathy Exams (2014) and Make It Scream, Make It Burn (2019); and a novel, The Gin Closet (2010). She is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and directs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia University.
“Offers a glimpse into the mind of the artist and his delicately rendered, infinitely bizarre universe.” — ARTnews
“Since the late 1990s, Marcel Dzama has populated his ink-and-watercolor drawings with sundry dismemberments and wounds accomplished by swords, knives, arrows, guns, bats, and the occasional mace; the malevolent images may be inspired by hellish doings, but this is hell as circus ring or costume ball. His is a fun-house hell where sinners are condemned to an eternity of enigma.” — Albert Mobilio
“The second in publisher David Zwirner’s Seeing Shakespeare series, the impeccable coupling of A MidSummer Night’s Dream with contemporary Canadian artist Marcel Dazma makes for a particularly magical outcome. Dazma’s vibrant watercolors of polkadot-laden fairies donning butterfly wings, an ever-present moon with a coy smile, and human-animal fusions dance off the page, portraying a Shakespearean classic anew.” — Vanity Fair