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Marcel Dzama, A Game of Chess, 2011, still from a black-and-white video, 14 minutes.

Marcel Dzama

David Zwirner | 525 & 533 West 19th Street

Marcel Dzama, A Game of Chess, 2011, still from a black-and-white video, 14 minutes.

Marcel Dzama is one of a number of artists in their thirties and forties—such as Elizabeth Peyton and Amy Cutler in New York, Jockum Nordström in Europe, with Neo Rauch, perhaps, an elder statesman—whose work for varying purposes recalls the drawings of old-fashioned illustration, a word once considered toxic when applied to serious art. On top of that, Dzama has a cult following—actually a little too large and too glamorous, with its movie stars and rock musicians, to be called “cult”—and a healthy bibliography of coverage in the glossies. Even so, his recent show “Behind Every Curtain” was totally absorbing. His drawings are crowded with detail, resisting the quick read that the word illustration implies; if on one level they recall children’s books, pictorial charts, or the imagery used to send blunt political messages in Mao-period China, they quickly reveal

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