The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
"Let's Don't Take No Chance" will be on display at 2739 Edwin through May 25th, with an artist talk at 6 p.m. on closing night.Upon entering the scene at 2739 Edwin Gallery, I was immediately gripped by a kind of nervous energy, invoked by “Let’s Don’t Take No Chance,” a collection of sculptural pieces by Detroit artist Ben Hall. Put simply, I felt a little worried that they might collapse on me at any moment.
Precarious does not begin to cover these works by Ben Hall. Pictured center:
"rob a credit union and the whip won't start : ("
Pictured foreground: detail from "texas on the bottom new york on the right."
When I spoke with him, Hall was doubly reassuring, both in mentioning that the pieces were rigged to remain sturdier than they seemed—most of them appearing to occupy an almost transitional state of delicate balance—and also that feeling nervous around art is a positive reaction. On that point, I agree.
"could be a matador, could be a rodeo clown."
The work is highly playful, with classic gags like rainbow clown wigs, oversized shoes and chatter teeth punctuating some of the installations. One wall of the gallery features "I'm waiting to see what you say before I answer," a series of laser-cut signs with messages that range from mere non sequitur to baldly hilarious. On a higher level are the twin security bubbles like one might see on the ceiling of a casino busily surveying each other, a subtly blinged-out Cleveland Indians cap, and a cinderblock construction seemingly balanced on little more than a stack of Kool cigarette packs. Hall’s mélange of materials is highly conscious and in some cases poignant—in one of the most powerful and precarious pieces, a grocery cart (one of the most anthropomorphic of commonplace items) is held in delicate and unlikely stasis atop a stack that narrows down to just a few aluminum cans.
Artist Ben Hall, pictured center hoop.
Overall, the work is an astonishing collection of humor, physics and nervous energy, with large-scale installations reminding the nervous and engaged visitors of the power art can hold. Not to be missed.
Laugh it up, buddy. Detail from "texas on the bottom, new york on the right."
"Let's Don't Take No Chance," an exhibition of work by Ben Hall, will be on view through May 25 at 2739 Edwin Gallery, 2739 Edwin St., Hamtramck; 2739edwin.com. Gallery hours are Saturday, 1-6p.m. or by appointment (available by emailing email@example.com). On closing night, Saturday, May 25th at 6 p.m., there will be an Artist Talk with Sebastian Black.