Logics of Non-Exchange: Parsons MFA Fine Arts Thesis Preview

Logics of Non-Exchange: Parsons MFA Fine Arts Thesis Preview

Parsons School of Design at The New School

Caroline Garcia, Choose Your Fighter, 2020. Virtual reality video, color, sound, 3 minutes 24 seconds. Photo courtesy of the artist.

June 15, 2020
Logics of Non-Exchange: Parsons MFA Fine Arts Thesis Preview
June 15, 2020
Parsons School of Design at The New School
66 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10003
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Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Logics of Non-Exchange, the Parsons School of Design at The New School 2020 MFA Thesis exhibition curated by Stamatina Gregory, will take place in New York just as soon as students and faculty are able to return to campus safely. This online platform presents the work of the twenty graduating students working across media, methods, and materials.

Living in New York—or the New York that we used to live in, one in which it was possible to choose from hundreds of exhibitions on any given Wednesday-through-Sunday— there was always more that we missed than what we were able to see. This largesse now, in some ways, can feel like a luxury of past days and better economies as studios close, commissions are postponed or canceled, and the value of goods and services directly correlates to their ability to be consumed from home. When a streaming media company is worth more than ExxonMobil, when the procuring and preparing of food eclipses most other pursuits, when those who slaughter and pack and ring up that food are simultaneously declared “essential” while their lives are criminally undervalued, a sobering awareness of the inadequacy of our existing capitalist logics of exchange widens.

Half a century ago, artists moved to position themselves as arts workers, in solidarity with the antiwar, civil rights, and feminist movements. A primary motive of the Arts Workers Coalition was the public redefinition of artists and critics as workers subject to economic imperatives and the (raced, gendered) power dynamics of labor under capitalism. Art work in political alignment with labor—without labor’s class stratifications—was a fraught position for prominent artists to take in the 1960s and 1970s. Now, as 1.3 jobs were gutted from the arts and culture sector in April alone—including jobs in museum education, held predominantly by artists—the identification of art with labor seems not only deeply warranted, but demands an even greater radicality. A position, perhaps, that not only is the production and interpretation of works of art a public good, it is societally essential: its non-exchange values lie in the desperately needed unlocking of our political and social imaginary.

The twenty artists with work on view in this online exhibition—a preview of an installation to come—provide a critical view on the shape of our world. They explore our highly mediated vision, and the ways in which we negotiate, consume, and traffic in images. They make tangible the brutality of digital economies on cityscapes and bodies, and throw our traumas and erotics into sharp relief. They explore gift economies, radical generosity, and the politics of individual and collective care. As a cohort, they remain at a distance—but their work remains as intimate as it is urgent.

—Stamatina Gregory

Participating Artists

Caroline Garcia
Collyn Ahrens
Coraline (Jingyan) Weng
Java Jones
jess saldaña
Jie Shao
Jingruo Cheng
John Holland
Josephine Lee
Kaeten Bonli
Kaili Smith
Laurel Richardson
Luna Jiang
Lydia Crouse
Michael Rose
Paloma Rosenzweig Castillo
Rae Lavande Pellerin
Sidi He
Snow Xuecan Ye
Tania Khouri

Stamatina Gregory is a curator and an art historian, whose work focuses primarily on the interrelationship of contemporary art and politics. She has organized exhibitions for institutions including The Cooper Union, FLAG Art Foundation, Austrian Cultural Forum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and the Santa Monica Museum of Art. She has taught art history, critical theory, and writing at The New School, the School of Visual Arts, Sotheby’s Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University. She is Chief Curator and Director of Programs at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art.

The Parsons MFA Fine Arts program is a dynamic two-year, cross-disciplinary program committed to expanding the formal, intellectual and conceptual dimensions of emerging artists’ work. Studio-based research and scholarship extends the boundaries of contemporary cultural expression, developed through a global understanding of the arts. Parsons Fine Arts is committed to diversity among students and faculty that provides a potent learning community. Housed within both Parsons School of Design and The New School University, we are uniquely positioned within a progressive educational environment. Our international student body has access to a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from rigorous formal and aesthetic investigations to cross-disciplinary collaborations with design, performing arts and humanities students, to public forums that address pressing social and political concerns. Our Visiting Artist Lecture Series and our Critic and Curator Series features renowned, multidisciplinary artists, curators and critics. Recent visitors included:  Mark Dion, Xu Bing, Zachary Fabri, Nicole Eisenman, Sheila Pepe, Yamini Nayar, Maria Theresa Alvez, Alfredo Jaar, Jamian Wu Tsang, Carlos Motta, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Heather Hart, Derrick Adams, Mernet Larsen, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Cullen Washington Jr, Jackson Polys, E.V. Day, Mika Tajima, Meleko Mokgosi, David Reed, Carolyn Lazard, Jon Rubin, Javier Tellez, Tschabalala Self, and Steffani Jemison.

Founded in 1896, Parsons School of Design has served as a pioneer in the field of Art and Design for more than a century. Based in New York and internationally active, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. Critical thinking, research and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. An integral part of The New School, Parsons builds on the university’s legacy of progressive ideals, scholarship and pedagogy. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the twenty-first century.

In 2019 and 2020, the QS World University Rankings, a London-based higher education organization, named Parsons the #1 College for Art and Design in the United States, and #3 internationally.

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June 15, 2020

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