Mark Benson, Get The Flu, September

‘Get the Flu’

September 1st – 27th

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 1st, 6-10pm


Installation view "Get the Flu"

Installation view "Get the Flu"

‘Chills (Frigidaire Air Conditioner)’ Detail. Air conditioner, ink jet prints, glass, streamers, sponges, wood, screws, nails. 2012

Chills (Frigidaire Room Air-Conditioner) 2012 Window air conditioner unit, streamers, inkjet prints, sponges, glass, wood, staples, screws, nails, urethane; 33.75 x 23 x 20 inches;

Ever Gold Gallery presents Get the Flu, a new body of work by Mark Benson. In his first solo exhibition at the gallery, Benson explores avenues of comfort and relief through his conceptual practice. Looking to visualize the natural desire to be comfortable, safe, and healthy, Benson examines a selection of everyday appliances and their significance in our culture. The objects and imagery used in Get the Flu reference the ways in which we aspire to control elements of our lives, from atmospheric surroundings to personal health. Control is a continuing concern in Benson’s work and is activated here by asking viewers to engage with objects such as space heaters, air conditioners, and the flu vaccine.

Fundamental comfort is something that everyone is entitled to. Basic needs such as warmth and health are obvious necessities in life. At some point, the need for comfort goes beyond basic and becomes something profound, where the idea of discomfort is unheard of. There is excess in how we obtain comfort in the endless ways available to achieve it. We go to great lengths to prevent uneasiness, and in some cases these efforts have a larger negative effect than positive. Get the Flu approaches these concerns in straightforward, humorous ways, and is as much a physical experience as a visual one.

For his exhibition at Ever Gold Gallery, Benson will present a grouping of space heaters and air conditioners in separate rooms of the gallery. As the viewer moves through the space, they are confronted with both hot and cold sensations which begin as pleasant, then become uncomfortable. As objects, the artist finds these appliances endearing in their design; utilitarian, and simultaneously tacky and attractive. They are funny. They are helpful and useful, but at the same time dangerous. Benson uses the heaters and AC units sculpturally as a medium through which to investigate imitation as well. The temperatures they produce, while designed for relief, are emblematic of a fever or the chills when intensely heightened.
For the night of the opening reception, there will be a nurse administering flu shots*  –a practice the artist is at odds with. The flu shot holds power to Benson–on a large scale, vaccines help control pandemics, but in turn, participate in the increasing precariousness of infectious diseases. The physicality of the heaters and AC units complicates the experience of receiving a flu shot, asking the viewer to consider his or her participation in controlling their personal well-being and the benefits and disadvantages of modern definitions of comfort.


Reservations now being accepted for editioned flu shots; each shot comes with corresponding certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.


*Shot is an actual seasonal flu vaccine that will be administered by a registered nurse.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. Each year, one flu virus of each kind is used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.

Mark Benson, b.1978, Denver, CO, pulls things out of the world and reestablishes them in sculpture, painting, and photographs. He received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2011. He is participating in the group exhibition First Act at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City this August through November 2012, and has exhibited in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Chicago, and Denver. He lives and works in San Francisco.



Fever (The Designer’s Edge Garage & Patio Heater) 2012 Porch heater, inkjet prints, wood, staples, screws, nails; 24.5 x 23 x 17 inches;

Fever (Pelonis Electric Radiator Heater) 2012 Electric radiator heater, inkjet prints, glass, wood, staples, screws; 50 x 15 x 13.5 inches;



Artists Website


Clown Car Dishes, dish dry racks, silverware, counter top; 75 x 27 x 30 inches; 2011


Selected Exhibitions


Ever Gold Gallery, San Francisco, CA


Primer Acto: Inauguración
Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico

Fountain Los Angeles
with Ever Gold Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

The Stick that Holds Up the Scarecrow
As Is Exhibitions, Oakland, CA

Media Love
Unspeakable Projects, San Francisco, CA

CCA MFA Thesis Exhibition
California College of the Arts

(Odds Are) 13 – 1
Wattis Institute Apartment, San Francisco, CA

Wattis Institute of Contemporary Art, San Francisco, CA

At Bay II: Selected Works by Recipients of the 2010
Phelan, Murphy, and Cadogan Awards
Worth Ryder Gallery, Berkeley, CA

Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA

Golden State
RVCA, San Francisco, CA

Root Division, San Francisco, CA

Natural Beauty
Oxenrose, San Francisco, CA

Baer Ridgway Exhibitions, San Francisco, CA

Monster Drawing Rally
Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA

Ox-Bow Winter Gala
Sullivan Galleries, SAIC, Chicago, IL

Department (Store)
Sullivan Galleries, SAIC, Chicago, IL

Totally Permanent
The Whistler, Chicago, IL

The Artist Project
Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL

These Are Paintings/These Are Photos
Cleaver Arts, Chicago, IL

artWORK 5
G2 Gallery, SAIC, Chicago, IL

Around The Coyote Fall Art Festival
Chicago, IL

Lollapalooza Music Festival
Who Art Thou?
Grant Park, Chicago, IL




Beautiful Decay
Class Clowns

Little Paper Planes
Still Life