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William Shakespeare × Marcel Dzama: A Midsummer Night's Dream

By (artist) Marcel Dzama / Contributions by Leslie Jamison

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. 

“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, BOOKFORUM

More books from this author: William Shakespeare