Marcel Dzama, A musical portrait of Federico Garcia Lorca, 2022
© Marcel Dzama Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

Marcel Dzama

Artist Marcel Dzama will work across drawing, video, music, and dance to stage his adaption of Spanish poet Federico García Lorca’s “A Trip to the Moon” (1929), a poem connected through vivid, dream-like imagery that calls to mind the cinematic experiments of Lorca’s Surrealist contemporaries.

Marcel Dzama, A musical portrait of Federico Garcia Lorca, 2022 © Marcel Dzama Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner


Abrons Arts Center, Henry Street Playhouse
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Marcel Dzama in his Brooklyn studio, 2021. Photo: Jason Schmidt, courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

To live on the Moon (For Lorca)

Performa Commission

Loosely based on Federico Garcia Lorca’s screenplay, Trip to the Moon (1929), Canadian artist Marcel Dzama will create his first evening-length performance titled To Live on the Moon (For Lorca), interweaving Lorca’s stories with his assassination in 1936 by General Francisco Franco’s fascist regime in Spain.

The poet, playwright, and director Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)––arguably one of Spain’s most revered artists––mixed Spanish folklore, vivid imagery, and a keen understanding of human conflict to craft plays and poems that challenged the conservative social conventions of the time. Written during his year-long stay in New York City in 1929, Trip to the Moon is a screenplay composed of seventy-three loosely connected vignettes, each illustrating a foreboding scene of romance, violence, and mysticism. Though never realized as a film before his assassination at the age of 38, the screenplay is a paradigm of Surrealism, comparable to the cinematic experiments of Lorca’s friends and peers Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñel.

In To Live on the Moon (For Lorca), Dzama combines live musical performance and dance with a newly commissioned film that explores the imagery of the original Trip to the Moon to tell the story not only of Lorca’s death, but of his resurrection as the Moon itself. Using the vignette structure, Dzama follows Lorca from life to death and on to the cosmos, narrating his tale of resurrection and artistic expression through the songs and poems all written by the artist, in English and Spanish. The performance in the Playhouse Theater at Abrons Arts Center will see Dzama and his collaborators––musicians and dancers ––accompanying the film wearing the colorful costumes in a grand procession of fanciful characters from the screen into the theater.

Curated by RoseLee Goldberg

About Marcel Dzama

Since rising to prominence in the late 1990s, Marcel Dzama 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. Dzama was born in 1974 in Winnipeg, Canada, where he received his BFA in 1997 from the University of Manitoba. Since 1998, his work has been represented by David Zwirner. The artist has had fourteen solo exhibitions with the gallery, including Puppets, Pawns, and Prophets which was his first presentation at the London location in 2013 and was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue co-published by Hatje Cantz, with an essay by Deborah Solomon. In 2014, David Zwirner presented a solo exhibition of Dzama’s work at the gallery in New York, which marked the United States debut of his film Une danse des bouffons (or A jester’s dance). In 2016, the gallery held two exhibitions in New York and London dedicated to the collaborative works by Dzama and Raymond Pettibon. Crossing the Line, marking the artist’s first solo presentation in Greater China, was on view at the Hong Kong gallery in 2019. David Zwirner Online presented Pink Moon, an online exhibition of Dzama’s work in 2020, and in July of the same year, Blue Moon of Morocco was featured at the gallery's Paris location. In 2021, Marcel Dzama: Who Loves the Sun was presented at the gallery’s 69th Street location in New York. In 2022, David Zwirner, London presented Marcel Dzama: Child of Midnight.

Dzama has exhibited widely in solo and group presentations throughout the United States and abroad. In 2022, a solo presentation of the artist's work, Marcel Dzama: Viviendo en el limbo y soñando con el paraíso was on view at the Museo de Arte de Zapopan (MAZ), Mexico. Marcel Dzama: An End to the End Times was on view in 2021 at the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, Georgia. In 2021, the Sara Hildén Art Museum in Tampere, Finland presented a solo exhibition of the artist’s work entitled Marcel Dzama: Tonight We Dance. In 2018, the solo exhibition Ya es hora was presented at Galería Helga de Alvear in Madrid and A Jester’s Dance was shown at University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 2017, La Casa Encendida in Madrid exhibited Drawing on a Revolution, a solo show of the artist’s work. In 2015, the artist’s film Une danse des bouffons was presented alongside related two- and three-dimensional work in a solo show at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis. In 2010, a major survey of the artist's work was held at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in Montreal. Other solo exhibitions include those organized by Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2014); Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid (2013); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain; Museo de Arte de Zapopan (MAZ), Zapopan, Mexico; World Chess Hall of Fame and Museum, St. Louis (all 2012); Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany (both 2011); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2008); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England (2006); and Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, France (2005).


Co-produced by the Federico García Lorca Foundation, Granada.


Supported by David Zwirner. Performa Commissions are supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature



Laura García Lorca, Shayne Christiansen, Emma Engel, Daniela Garcia-Arce, Jason P. Grisell, Gabby Gubitosi, Tara Ocon, Rhys Tivey, Vanessa Walters


Erica Sarda, Blair Taller, Eva Imber, Caitlin Adams, Sean Yetter, Shayne Christiansen, David Cranor, Italo Dileo, Tina Petersone, Javier Caso, Yassel Iglesias, Aiste Liuka Jonynaite, Andi, the dog, Navriti Sood, Kerly Ritval, Sasha Okshteyn, Valentina Gallup, Blaire Aycock, Maggie Heath



Sasha Okshteyn, Producer

Maggie Heath, Lighting Designer, Production Manager

Jason P. Grisell, Music Collaborator

Christian Joy, Costume Designer

Valentina Gallup, Scenic + Props

Vanessa Walters, Choreographer

Blaire Aycock, Make-up

Jennifer Mullins, Hair

Kerly Ritval, Production Assistant


Sasha Okshteyn, Producer

Smokey Nelson, Cinematographer

Brian Agamie, Editor

Christiane Joy, Costume Designer

Valentina Gallup, Scenic + Props

Vanessa Walters, Choreographer

Blaire Aycock, Make-up

Jennifer Mullins, Hair

Maggie Heath, Scenic + Props Assistant

Jason Singleton, Scenic + Props

Kevin Kushner, Production Assistant

Kerly Ritval, Production Assistant

Brian MacLean, Key Grip

Lester Beck, Gaffer

Conner Keep, Assistant Camera

Andrew Lin, Assistant Camera

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Plaxall, Inc.

Performa Team

Founding Director and Chief Curator: RoseLee Goldberg

Senior Producer at Large: Sasha Okshteyn

Performa 2023 Baltic Fellow: Kerly Ritval