by Laura Hutson
I haven't kept up with Marcel Dzama very well over the past few years. His work with the Royal Art Lodge was some of my favorite in the early 2000s — I even have a tattoo of a drawing by Royal Art Lodge collaborator Neil Farber on my left arm. But around the time that the Henry Darger documentary came out and Dzama started designing album covers, that old Sears and Roebuck catalog aesthetic was everywhere, and I guess I lost interest. But he's remained one of my first favorite artists, someone whose work I have hanging in my house to this day.
So it's great to see his inclusion in The Frist's Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination exhibit. His three-dimensional dioramas are much better suited to The Frist exhibit than his drawings — imagine how overshadowed they would look in the same room as Patricia Piccinini's sculptures or Cindy Sherman's enormous photographs — and the creepy line-up of Pinocchios seems tailor-made for the exhibit's theme.
A Game of Chess, a solo show of Dzama's recent work, opened last week in St. Louis — at the World Chess Hall of Fame, naturally. His work has grown by leaps and bounds since he began making the drawings colored with root beer, but his fascination with the diminutive, the mythical and the strange remains.
Watch the trailer for his film above, and check out some of my favorite Dzama drawings after the jump.