Take a tip from Daniel Arnold and leave the heady stuff behind: the superego, the logic, the need for rigidity, the desire for category. In his photograph Sutton St (2019), a literally headless man stands at the door in a Brooklyn neighborhood, grocery bag in tow, poised to enter. When you do, you’ll find a transportive group show in which the ordinary order of things is skewed. See, for instance, Alicia Mersy’s interactive sculpture Cosmic Perspective (2019), in which desktop icons with names like “TOLERANCE” are off-kilter, as if warped by the gravitational pull of the swirling vortex at the center, and haloed by a futuristic purple glow.
Each of the exhibiting artists —Ikeda Moody-Golding, Sean-Kierre Lyons, along with Arnold and Mercy—contributes a short definition of headless-ness attached to their own work. “To be headless is to be spontaneous,” writes Arnold. “To be headless is to be vulnerable.” To Moody-Golding, who contributes graphite-on-paper drawings, headless-ness is limitlessness, the state of becoming: in I like to play with you (2019), a figure pops out of the ringed palm of another’s hand, dotted with small pools of light and surrounded by flowers.
Moody-Golding’s psychedelic, hippie aesthetic—flowers, swirls, woozy perspective —is matched by Lyons’s installation, held behind an unpromising white door much like the one depicted in Arnold’s photograph. Esme’s Bond (2019)[pictured] is as if Walter de Maria’s earth room were seeded and left under groovy yellow lights to gestate, spawning green-and-orange-outfitted dolls, spiders, and winged creatures atop stretched floor-to-ceiling webs. —Lisa Yin Zhang
Sean-Kierre Lyons, Esme’s Bond, 2019. Installation, dimensions variable. Photo: Jason Mandella.