Exhibition Description


Ben Hall, Andrew Mehall, Jason Murphy
Delights of the Garden
March 11 – April 8, 2017

View images in this exhibition

“Do you know who I am?
I am the police man of the world,
And they call me Uncle Sam.”
-Sulaiman El-Hadi, 1977

Oh, sweet arms of nostalgia! To be once again back in the warm embrace of civil war, secession, nativist hate, state violence, and impending nuclear annihilation.

“If they push that button, Yo ass got tuh go.”
-Herman Blount, Nuclear War, 1982.

The great theorists of our time have already reckoned that the big take away from our imminent disaster will be new (!), great (?) art; in 2017, Weimarist cabaret, in 2018, Dadaist abolition of all systems, in 2019, Beckettian nihilistic absurdist metaphysicalism, in 2020, Dylanesque civil rights awareness, the latter half of 2020, Sheppist poli-theaterist free jazz maelstrom, in 2021, Crassist anarcho-historical refusenik punk policy jams, in 2022, Dead Prezian AAPDEP anthemic synth smash.

Daniel Ellsberg wasn’t Daniel Ellsberg before he was Daniel Ellsberg.
-Bill Ayers on whistleblower Jeremy Hammond, due to be released November 2023.

All forms will be new again in the shadow of apocalypse and the beautiful new “art” will be the silver lining of the ever diminishing likkle piece of ice that our collective polar bear is stranded on. Those New Yorker cartoons of man marooned on an island, ALONE, no longer seem quite so satirical.

“Happy new year first of all. I hope we’ll have a million or two million more of them… if we can get over this summer, heh heh heh.
I’d like to dedicate this one to the draggin’ scene that’s goin’ on, all the soldiers that are fightin’ in Watts, Detroit, and New york… oh yea, and all the soldiers fightin’ in Viet Nam. I’d like to do a thing called ‘Machine Gun’.”
-James Marshall Hendrix, Machine Gun, New Years Eve, 1969/1970

Simone DeSousa Gallery is pleased to present Delights of the Garden, a project by Ben Hall, Jason Murphy, and Andrew Mehall, in which the artists look at the garish symbology and cult of personality during the Viet Nam war and what are its analogues in today’s geopolitical posturing but also in the formal responses of artists under the shadow of war, refugee crises, and impending climatological fracture. Delights of the Garden is a visual representation of the 1977 Last Poets album of the same name, taking key elements of their description of resistance, djinns, and nuclear annihilation.

Ben Hall, b. 1977, Detroit, studied mediation and conflict resolution at Bennington College where he studied with composer Milford Graves. His work has been presented by NADA at  Lincoln Center and he was 2014 Kresge Fellow in music.

Jason Murphy, b. 1976, Detroit, was a graduate fellow in printmaking at Columbia University. His work focuses on color and symbology and he founded the online resource colortaxonomy.world which identifies 7,000 colors and counting.

Andrew Mehall, b. 1986, Southfield, is the director of Young World gallery in Detroit where he presented Rirkrit Tiravanija, Lan Tuazon, and Danny Titiriga. He is the former director of WAKE Gallery in Redford where he presented Alex Da Corte and Brad Troemel.