Area of Study
Divisional Dean for Arts and Humanities and Chancellor’s Professor
For the past four decades I have created academic parody in a variety of mediums. For much of this time I fabricated and documented imaginary cultures. More recently I have been interested in biography, folk art, medicine, zoology and circuses. My lithographs are influenced by plates from old encyclopedias, the novellas of Jorge Luis Borges, 18th-century science, 19th-century printing, natural history museums, mirrors and lenses, anthrospheres, wunderkammers, and various forms of neglected scholarship. I prize the vernacular history of art. I prefer the facsimile to the original, and the imaginary to the real. I believe history is a work of fiction.
Beauvais Lyons was appointed as Divisional Dean for the Arts and Humanities beginning in July 2023. He is also the self-appointed Director of the Hokes Archives and has taught at UT since 1985. His one-person exhibitions have been presented at over 80 galleries and museums across the United States. He has published articles on his work in Archaeology, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Contemporary Impressions, The New Art Examiner, Leonardo and Burnaway. His work is cited by Linda Hutcheon in Irony’s Edge: A Theory and Politics of Irony (1994) and by Lawrence Weschler in Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (1995). He also has works in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. He was awarded the 2017 SECAC Award for Excellence in Teaching, a 2014 Santo Foundation Artist Award, and in 2011, he was awarded the title of Chancellor’s Professor at the University of Tennessee. He was awarded the Southeastern College Art Conference Award for Creative Achievement (1994), a Southern Art Federation/National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1988) and a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznañ, Poland (2002). Lyons served as the President of the Southern Graphics Council International (1994-96), the has helped to organize four of their conferences, most recently in Knoxville in 2015. In 2003-2004 and again in 2017-2018 he served as President of the UT Knoxville Faculty Senate.
Selected Media Appearances, Publications and Projects:
An article about “The Civilization of Llhuros,” and the artist Norman Daly appeared in The Conversation on September 14, 2022: https://theconversation.com/50-years-ago-an-artist-convincingly-exhibited-a-fake-iron-age-civilization-with-invented-maps-music-and-artifacts-189026.
23-minute interview on WUOT, East Tennessee public radio station with Todd Steed about the “Llhuros Symposium 2022:” https://www.wuot.org/2022-09-28/the-llhuros-symposium-gets-real
NPR program The Academic Minute with an episode about “The Civilization of Llhuros:” https://academicminute.org/2022/11/beauvais-lyons-university-of-tennessee-lessons-from-llhuros/
Llhuros Symposium 2022, an international symposium about Norman Daly’s “Civilization of Llhuros;” https://symposium.civilizationofllhuros.org/