Beauvais Lyons


Knoxville, TN

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For more than three decades I have explored various forms of academic parody. Through the institutional voice of the Hokes (sounds like “hoax”) Archives, I have created mock-documentary archaeology, folk art, medicine and natural history. I am interested in making art that is parafiction; works that appear to be plausible science or history, occupying a liminal territory that is not immediately regarded as art.  The lithograph included with this exhibition is from my recent project “The Association for Creative Zoology,” an imaginary organization from the early 20th century founded by the equally fictitious Reverend James Randolph Denton. Based in scripture, the Association posited that God is the ultimate collage artist, creating species variation by reassembling his prior works. References to dragons and unicorns in the King James Bible are the basis for the principle of “zoomorphic juncture.” These prints, which depict ornithological quadrupeds, emulate the publications of the British naturalist John Gould that I was able to study in the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.