Press Release


Parsons School of Design at The New School is thrilled to announce the upcoming Parsons Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition for the Class of 2021, to be held onsite in the Kellen Gallery, located at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center’s Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, 2 West 13th Street, New York. The show will be on view from October 26- November 8th.

Important Visitor INFO:  The university is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all visitors, staff, students and faculty. To register online, reserve a time to visit the gallery and learn more about the visitor entrance protocols, please click here.

These past 19 months have been a period of profound, unprecedented loss like none other in recent history. Yet, in spite of–or perhaps because of–this collective trauma, these recent graduates have come together to produce a powerful exhibition of new work that shines a bright light into the future. Not a cry in the dark but a celebration of what lies ahead, this work is not only a record of the current moment but a testimony to the strength and perseverance of everyone who is part of this community.

The Class of 2021 MFA Thesis Exhibition, No Vacancy, curated by Jody Graf, will present new works by Akofa Norman, Cai Shen, Di Wang, Gabrielle Randall, Hoang Vo, Hoor Imad Sherpao, Karen Dias, Kat Meese Jostad, and Rita Song. Jody Graf currently serves as Assistant Curator at MoMA PS1. She has also worked as an independent curator on numerous projects, presenting research at the Whitney Museum of American Art and writing for publications including Texte Zur Kunst, Frieze, Mousse, CURA, The Brooklyn Rail and The Exhibitionist.

Parsons Fine Arts MFA 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, the Fine Arts program is 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. In 2020 and 2021 visitors have included: Meriem Bennani, Jon Rubin, David Reed, Steffani Jemison, Theresa Chromati, Jesper Just, Abigail DeVille, Michael Rakowitz, Guan Xiao, Tschabalala Self, Javier Tellez, Hamza Walker, Legacy Russell, Nell Painter, Dessane Lopez Cassell, and Natalie Loveless.

About Parsons School of Design. Located on the unceded and occupied ancestral territory of Lenapehoking, Parsons honors the Lenape people’s past, present, and future generations, and continues its commitment to the process of working to dismantle the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism. Founded in 1896 and integrated  into The New School in 1970, Parsons has served as a leader 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 art and design disciplines. Critical thinking, research and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education, which builds on the university’s legacy of progressive ideals, scholarship and pedagogy. Parsons graduates are innovators in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century.

In 2021, 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 worldwide.

For more information about the program please contact the MFA co-Directors Lydia Matthews at and/or Lan Thao Lam at