Sean-Kierre Lyons @ MoMA PS1

Sean-Kierre Lyons’s practice re-imagines collective memory with sardonic whimsy. Moving beyond the tropes of American history to mine the building blocks of the present, their works open portals to envision an alternate universe: a fantastic planet called the Black Flower Forest. In this ever-evolving universe, Lyons's cast of anthropomorphic characters seek to shape consciousness through radical worldbuilding. Materializing as intricately embellished natural beings, such as flowers and insects, Lyons’s psychedelic figures are benevolent keepers of the forest, embodying a community rooted in resilience, reciprocity, and joy. As Lyons has stated of their historical precedents, specifically in reference to minstrel characters, “These characters were made without our permission.” In resurrecting them from the dustbins of history in reimagined form, Lyons finds a way to honor them, “giving these entities a way to exist where they can live their lives out.”