Marcel Dzama Misses Riding the Subway

Welcome to the GARAGE Questionnaire— a set of questions for our times, with inquiries that range from delicate to unhinged—all the better to peer into the multifaceted minds of our creative heroes.

The multi-disciplinary artist Marcel Dzama has been bringing people into his fantastic worlds since the 1990s. Last week, he debuted a new body of work in an online exhibition at David Zwirner, who has represented him since 1998. "Pink Moon" is a collection of drawings inspired by a trip the artist took with his family to Morocco a few years ago, created for a forthcoming monograph that is part of Louis Vuitton's Travel Book Series. Dzama incorporated some of the things he saw while visiting Tangiers, Essaouira, Chefchaouen, Fez, Beni Mellal, Marrakech, and the Agafay Desert and distilled it with his unique surrealist vision to create a series of escapist works that are perfectly suited for daydreaming from our respective quarantine spaces. Even more special, is "Coloring the Moon Pink," the coloring book he released in conjunction with the exhibition, which you should probably download when you are done reading his answers to our GARAGE Questionnaire.

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"Pink Moon," 2020 © Marcel Dzama Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

What’s your ideal first day out in the world once “this is over”?
Going to Fire Island and walking on the beach with my family and collecting shells with my son.

What’s the thing you unexpectedly miss the most right now?
Riding on the subway...

What is something you’ve discovered about yourself while in quarantine?
That I’m pretty good at home repair.

What is the best thing you’ve cooked while in quarantine?

A birthday cake for my son, but my wife did pretty much everything.

What’s your quarantine uniform?
Definitely pajamas.

What’s the best thing you’ve read or watched while in quarantine?
Read: Calypso by David Sedaris. Hilarious & moving.
Watched: At Home with Amy Sedaris. Hilarious.
I love those Sedarises.

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"Sisters of paradise," 2020 © Marcel Dzama Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

Andy Warhol is coming for dinner. Who else do you invite?
Joel Wachs is the President of the Andy Warhol Foundation and a good friend.
Amy Sedaris is also a good friend. And most of my friends at the David Zwirner Gallery.

Favorite problematic person, living or dead (or cancelled)?
Kurt Cobain.

What is a book you wish you’d written? [or artwork you wish you made, or song you wish you wrote etc.]
Book: James Joyce’s Ulysses
Painting: Goya’s The Third of May
Song: Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on the Wire

What is the most overrated virtue?
Overrated I don’t know, most underrated is honesty.

What is your favorite journey?
My journey to Morocco with my family.

Final meal: who, what, where...and when?
My grandmother. One of her homemade soups. Her home in Winnipeg in 1985.

If your style were cooked, what would it taste like?
Turpentine.

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Portrait of Marcel Dzama, 2020 Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

What are you wearing to your own funeral?
Bela Lugosi’s Dracula suit.

What is the last time you were moved by a work of art (any kind of art) and what was it?
Francis Picabia show at the MoMA. Most of the work there.

When was the last time you fell in love?
2012.

If you could only text with one person for the rest of your life, who would it be?
My wife.

Do you think the ocean is haunted?
Yes. It always calls to me.

What was the first movie you ever loved?
The Wizard of Oz.

Bread with olive oil or bread with butter? (Assume all components are “the good kind.”)
Olive oil.

What is your favorite scent?
That beach smell.

Describe your worst outfit (and where and when it happened).
I got locked out of my studio once without shoes or a jacket and it was -40c winter weather in Winnipeg. I put some grocery bags on my feet and walked in 6 foot snow banks to a store down the block to use their phone to call a friend who had some keys to my studio. The people in the store thought I was a crazy homeless person.

Are memes art?
No, but everything else is.

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"A mermaid on dolphins back uttering harmonious breath," 2020 © Marcel Dzama Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

What would you do with a stolen day?
Waste it.

What was your mother right all along about?
Time heals all wounds.

What's the most useful thing you own?
Blackwing pencils.

Would you rather maintain a young mind or a young body?
Mind.

Pen or pencil?
Pencil, soft leaded.

Something that annoys everyone else, that you secretly love?
Rainy days.

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"Store of women's kaftans in a market and my son with hat," 2018 © Marcel Dzama Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?
A cape.

If you had to introduce yourself to someone via a meal, what would it be?
Tagliatelle from Al Di La, an amazing Brooklyn Italian restaurant.

What superpower would you like to have?
Immunity.

What is a place in time you’d like to visit?
Sometime in the future and meet my son’s kids. Or meet Marcel Duchamp as an old man in the early ‘60s.

What do you consider to be the best invention of our times?
GPS, I’m always lost.

Once and for all, are we living in the Matrix?
I don’t think so, but we probably are.

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