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 Parsons Celebrates  Parsons Pa rsons Celebrates  The School’s Centennial Centennial  The T he New School’s  and 50 Years Years of and 50 Yea rs of  OUR SHARED HISTORY  OUR OUR SHARED SHA RED HISTORY HI STORY

re:D

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Regarding Design (re:D)

2019

newschool.edu/parsons/red

1 NEWS A recap of the Parsons community’s recent activities

7, 28 PROFILES  eaturing Parsons alumni representing a range of F years and disciplines: graphic designer Paul Rand; integrated designers Nina Schwarz and Su Beyazit; interactive and brand designers Alex Levin and Ryan Riegner; fashion designer Willi Smith; product designer Hlynur Atlason; design researcher and textile, advertising, and product designer Sara Little Turnbull; author-illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon; design writer and archivist Levi Higgs; artist Luma Jasim; and photographer Steven Meisel

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CREATIVE CONFLUENCE: Tracing the Shared History of Parsons and The New School A graphic feature tracing the individual and shared histories of The New School and Parsons School of Design from their origins to today

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A LEGACY OF DESIGN EXCELLENCE A selection of celebrated Parsons alumni drawn from throughout the school’s history

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DESIGNING DATA  In the wake of Netflix’s recent release of The Great Hack, re:D presents a conversation between professors David Carroll ’00 and Aaron Hill and alumna Ellie Frymire ’19, who discuss the ways the Parsons community is contending with our data-driven future

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BETTER TOGETHER Featuring the 1970 press release announcing the Parsons-New School merger

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RE:WIND J oseph Marcella, Environmental Design ’70

EXTENDING THE REACH OF REGARDING DESIGN Parsons fosters a worldwide community united by the desire to make the world better through design-led problem solving. Our curricula, external partnerships, and competitions and exhibitions are all tailored to help young artists and designers go out into the world and contribute through environmentally sustainable and socially conscious practice. To share these achievements more broadly and invite new partners into our fold, we’re reenvisioning re:D’s contents and distributing it to a selection of creative leaders. If you’re seeing re:D for the first time, we invite you to learn more about our network and reach out to explore ways to collaborate with our changemakers to advance your creative vision. Below are contact emails for our Corporate Partnerships, Alumni, and Student Success offices. newschool.edu/red/corporate-partners newschool.edu/red/alumni newschool.edu/red/employers

OUR SHARED HISTORIES: THE NEW SCHOOL CENTENNIAL ISSUE This issue, a celebration of The New School’s centennial, is an opportunity to explore the shared histories of Parsons and The New School and the groundbreaking curricula and creativity that have emerged. Alumni featured throughout the magazine exemplify our legacy of creative problem solving that carries our shared mission forward into an evolving world and future.


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100 YEARS NEW

The New School is celebrating a century of promoting academic freedom, tolerance, and progressive intellectual exchange by opening its doors to the public for an anniversary celebration. The Festival of New will include performances, talks, and exhibitions showcasing The New School’s celebrated community of alumni, faculty, staff, and students. All festival programming—ranging from live thinkers and leaders—is free and open to the public. Speakers and artists include Cotton Series choreographer and dancer Havanna Fisher, BA The Arts/BFA Fashion

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music in Union Square Park to discussions with diverse

and director of MFA Fashion Design and Society; Andrea Geyer, associate professor of new genres; Camilo Godoy, BA Education Studies/BFA Photography ’16; Paul Goldberger, Joseph Urban Professor of Design; associate professor of media design Colleen Macklin, MA International Affairs ’13; Morgan Saint, BFA Illustration ’16; John Sharp, associate professor of games and learning; fashion designer Anna Sui, BFA Fashion Design; and Otto von Busch, associate professor of integrated design; and Fern Mallis, Derek Lam, BFA Fashion Design ’90 and Emily Adams Bode, BA Philosophy/BFA Fashion Design ’13, will discuss approaches to fashion across generations and how designers turn their inspirations into apparel. To register for the festival and create a custom schedule, visit the website below. newschool.edu/festival-of-new

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Design ’14; Shelley Fox, Donna Karan Professor of Fashion


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2 PARSONS’ NEW EXECUTIVE DEAN

In 2019, Parsons alumni figured prominently

Dr. Rachel Schreiber recently joined Parsons

on Forbes’ prestigious 30 Under 30 list: Emily

as executive dean, a role in which she is

Adams Bode, BA Philosophy/BFA Fashion

advancing Parsons’ strategic vision, reputation,

Design ’13, founder of menswear brand Bode;

and efforts to integrate design education into

Alfonso Javier Cobo Albusac, MS Strategic

curricula throughout The New School. Joel

Design and Management ’18, a founder of

Towers served for a decade in the role and is

Unfold, an app that allows its nine million users

now advancing The New School’s research

to create polished design-driven Instagram

on and teaching about climate change and

stories with minimal templates; Alex Levin,

healthy environments as a University Professor.

BBA Strategic Design and Management ’11,

Says Schreiber, “It is my great privilege to

a founder (with Ryan Riegner, BFA

join the Parsons community as executive

Communication Design ’11) and the director

dean. With every passing day, I am more

of strategy of L+R, an international design

inspired by the meaningful impact Parsons

and technology agency whose clients include

has already made on the world, and together,

Amazon and Louis Vuitton (see page 9); Cecile

I look forward to building on its already stellar

McLorin Salvant, a former student who has

record and reputation to reach new heights

made her mark as a singer, composer, and

of academic excellence.” Schreiber comes to

visual artist; Fabian Raphael Rastorfer, BFA

Parsons following a distinguished tenure at

Design and Technology ’14, the founder of

the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), where

Fabraz, a game studio that released a platform

she served as provost and senior vice president

called Slime-san in 2017; Kim Shui, AAS Fashion

and, in 2016, as interim president. She holds

Design ’13, a womenswear designer whose

a PhD from Johns Hopkins University, an

clients include Kylie Jenner, Solange Knowles,

MFA in Photography and Critical Writing from

and Cardi B; and Sarah Staudinger, a former

California Institute of the Arts, and a BFA in

Eugene Lang College student and fashion

Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of

designer who launched the womenswear brand

Design. “Rachel’s extensive background as an

STAUD and whose dresses and bags have

artist, designer, and educator and research

proved popular with celebrities like Claire Danes

expertise in gender and labor history ideally

and Zoe Saldana.

position her to guide Parsons,” says New School Provost Tim Marshall. “We are delighted to welcome her to the university community.” newschool.edu/red/schreiber

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THIRTY UNDER THIRTY


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the emotional intelligence that fosters success;

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ALUMNI ASSEMBLE

Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight, by Duncan

Every year, alumni, faculty, and guests reunite

on a range of subjects. In Baseball Parks and

Tonatiuh, BA Liberal Arts/BFA Integrated

on campus to celebrate Parsons and its

the American City, Joseph Urban Professor of

Design ’08, the story of an immigrant who

creative legacy with receptions, tours, and talks.

Design Paul Goldberger examines American

stands up for himself and his community;

During the 2018 reunion, which took place in

ballparks and their place in the city landscape,

and Twentieth-Century Boy: Notebooks of the

late October last year, attendees toured the

exploring the changing architecture of baseball

Seventies, by Duncan Hannah, BFA Fine Arts ’75,

University Center and the Making Center and

stadiums as a reflection of urban development

an artist’s coming-of-age story set in NYC.

took part in a virtual reality workshop led by

and cultural shifts. Associate professor of illustration Nora Krug’s graphic novel Belonging:

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PARSONS BENEFIT

Maya Georgieva, director of Digital Learning at The New School’s XReality Center, and

A German Reckons with History and Home

The 71st Parsons Benefit honored a host of

Parsons faculty member Niberca Polo, MA

delves into her family’s past and depicts her

visionary figures in fashion, technology, and

Media Studies ’11, MA Design Studies ’14. In the

struggle to come to terms with her native

the arts, all of whom embody the university’s

afternoon, alumni attended a panel discussion

country’s tragic history. Belonging won the

commitment to creativity, innovation, and

with then Executive Dean Joel Towers and Reed

National Book Critics Circle Award and was

sustainability. This year’s honorees were

Krakoff, AAS Fashion Design ’89, chief artistic

named a New York Times Best Book of the

Katrina Lake, founder and CEO of Stitch Fix,

officer at Tiffany & Co. After an introduction

Year. John Sharp, associate professor of games

who received the Parsons Table Award; Michael

by Parsons Board of Governors Chair Kay

and learning, and Colleen Macklin, associate

Preysman, founder and CEO of Everlane, who

Unger, Fashion Design ’68, Krakoff discussed

professor of media design, published Iterate:

received the Frank Alvah Parsons Award; the

his work with one of the most iconic American

Ten Lessons on Design and Failure, a book

acclaimed singer, songwriter, artist, and designer

brands, touching on everything from marketing

discussing the notion that rather than being

Pharrell Williams; and Julia Wainwright,

and design to the luxury industry and the

a source of embarrassment, failure is a crucial

founder and CEO of The RealReal. “My greatest

significance of robin’s-egg blue. Alumni then

part of the creative process. In Thinking Design

wish is to see students and everyone in this

enjoyed a reception at the closing of Primal

Through Literature, associate professor of

room keep dreaming and creating… to open

Machines, a Parsons alumni exhibition. Curated

design studies Susan Yelavich presents fiction,

your mind to every idea, to open your work

by Colette Robbins, MFA Fine Arts ’07, the

nonfiction, and poetry that attest to the social

to everyone” said Williams. The star-studded

exhibition featured alumni work exploring the

function of objects ranging from skyscrapers

evening included a jazzy performance of

psychology and effects of our experiences as

to ceramics to robots and places including

Williams’ hit “Happy” by Latin Grammy

digital natives and consumers. Many thanks

domestic spaces, parks, and urban centers.

winner Linda Briceño, MFA Jazz ’18, MA Arts

go out to the forward-thinking creatives of the

Books recently published by alumni include

Management and Entrepreneurship ’19, and an

reunion organizing committee, who work year-

No Hard Feelings: Emotions at Work, by Mollie

auction led by Lydia Fenet, managing director

round to produce this event.

West Duffy, MFA Transdisciplinary Design ’15,

of Christie’s. The 2019 Parsons Benefit raised

newschool.edu/red/parsons-reunion

which provides practical tools for developing

$3.6 million for scholarships. parsonsbenefit.newschool.edu

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PARSONS IN PRINT

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This year, Parsons faculty published books


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DECORATED DESIGNERS

In the past year, the Parsons community took

from the global company Sappi: assistant

home a number of honors. Caroline Hu, MFA

professors Andrew Shea and John Roach were

Fashion Design and Society ’17, won an inaugural

awarded for their educational toolkit, Sound

Business of Fashion China Prize of $100,000.

the Mound; Abby Chen and Flora Chan, BFA

Mijia Zhang, Fashion Design ’14, was a BoF

Communication Design ’14, received an award

China finalist. Christopher Kitterman, professor

for It’s Not Just Personal, a poster distribution

of interior design, received a 2019 AIANY

campaign for survivors of sexual violence; and

Design Merit Award in the Interiors category.

faculty member Marcos Chavez and Sage

The film adaption of Crazy Rich Asians, a

Smith, BFA Communication Design ’18, were

bestselling novel by BFA photography student

awarded for Read to Me!, a book and learning

Kevin Kwan, was nominated for two Golden

tablet that builds school readiness skills. Emily

Globe Awards. Lisa Marks, BFA Industrial and

Adams Bode, BA Philosophy/BFA Fashion

Product Design ’03, MFA Industrial and Product

Design ’13, and Spencer Phipps, BFA Fashion

Design ’17, won the 2019 Lexus Design

Design ’08, were finalists for the 2019 LVMH

Award Grand Prix for Algorithmic Lace, a design

Prize for Young Fashion Designers.

method used to create bras for people who have undergone mastectomies. Fast Company named Irem Yildiz, MA Design Studies ’18, a finalist in its World Changing Ideas competition’s Student category. In February, the first Parsons team to participate in the 2019 Rotman Design Challenge at the University of Toronto received $10,000 for their project, STRUCT. The team consisted of second-year Strategic Design Management students including Silky Kadakia, Vinay Kumar Mysore, Shishir Raut, Maria Di Paolo, Sundar Subramanian, and Victor Michud. In 2018, several Parsons faculty members and alumni received grants


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NEW PROGRAMS

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PARSONS STREET TAKEOVER

A leader of innovative design education, Parsons

In May, the Parsons community came together

Art’s extensive digital art collection, assistant

continually develops new offerings for its

to support graduating students’ creative

professor of data visualization Richard The

students, who will go on to shape their fields.

achievements during the Parsons Festival, part

organized a research collaboration between

This fall marked the launch of two new

of NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s annual design

the world-renowned art institution and his MS

programs. Students in BFA Design History and

celebration. Attendees of the festival engaged

Data Visualization students. Using modern

Practice, directed by Margot Bouman, engage

with student work through events, exhibitions,

Web technologies and machine learning, the

with art and design through text-based and

interactive installations, performances, and

students investigated topics ranging from

material analysis in interdisciplinary studio and

more. One of the week’s highlights was a

gender equality in contemporary art to artists’

seminar study pathways. Drawing on curricula

runway show that took place along West 13th

lives and the classification of objects. Part of

from both Eugene Lang College and other

Street and Fifth Avenue and featured more

the students’ assignment was to present their

programs at Parsons, the new BFA integrates

than 250 unique looks by BFA Fashion Design

findings in aesthetically compelling ways that

design practice with the study of history and

graduates. The festival also saw the relaunch of

would enable viewers to access and explore

theory in innovative ways. A senior capstone

the Street Seats collaboration, in which students

information easily. Among the projects was

project and a third-year optional professional

in the School of Constructed Environments

a study by Emily Chu ’19 of images from the

development practicum enable students to

take over part of the curb along West 13th Street

Costume Institute. Using machine learning

focus their studies and prepare for careers in

and create a public seating area where the local

clustering methods, Chu sorted more than 7,000

emerging fields. The MPS Fashion Management

community can gather, socialize, and enjoy their

costume images and created a website that

degree is designed to help students transform

neighborhood. Members of the design press

allows users to follow the evolution of fashion

and advance their careers in an evolving fashion

covered thesis shows, including the pioneering

objects throughout history. Another student,

business landscape. To celebrate the launch

work of the year-old MFA Textiles program.

Ryan Best, tracked changes in the composition

of the new program—headed by Keanan

The exhibition provided an opportunity for

of The Met’s collection over time, focusing on

Duffty—Parsons held an inaugural panel

the Parsons community to view and discuss

ten countries of origin. According to Loic Tallon,

discussion series during New York Fashion

student work and learn more about this growing

chief digital officer at The Met, this Parsons

Week in February, 2019. Among the esteemed

program.

collaboration will encourage museum visitors

guest panelists were leaders in the fashion and

newschool.edu/red/streetseats

and students to engage with the digital archives

retail industries including: MPS faculty member

and make new discoveries.

Christopher Lacy; Dylan Jones, Editor in Chief,

newschool.edu/red/met

British GQ; Danielle Azoulay, Head of CSR & Sustainability, L’Oreal USA; Simone Cipriani, Head & Founder, Ethical Fashion Initiative; and Rebecca van Bergen, Founder, NEST. newschool.edu/red/bfa-design-history-practice newschool.edu/red/mps-fashion-management

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DIGITAL HISTORIES

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Inspired by The Metropolitan Museum of


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EXHIBITING EXCELLENCE

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PARADE PRIDE

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CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY

On view at the Sheila C. Johnson Design

For the first time in Parsons’ history, students

In honor of The New School’s Centennial, the

Center (SJDC) is In the Historical Present, an

created a float for the NYC Pride March.

university has launched the largest campus-

exhibition that is inspired by The New School’s

Designed by students in the class Queering

wide fundraising effort in its history. The New

Centennial and draws on the university’s

Space, the float was intended to “disrupt”

Century Campaign is designed to celebrate the

extensive art collection and archives. Through

an event that has become “complicit in

university’s legacy of defying convention and

commissioned artworks and artist-led

reinforcing typical normative structures,”

invest in the creative minds who will shape the

engagements and performances, the show

according to class instructors William Fryer,

future. The campaign began earlier this year

examines and interprets The New School’s

MFA Interior Design ’17, and Lena Kouvela,

with the goal of raising $250 million and has

relationship with its history and legacy. “In

MFA Interior Design ’17. During the parade,

since raised over $163 million through gifts

the manner of a paradox, In the Historical

students and New School volunteers took

from alumni, parents, friends, foundations, and

Present stages a call-and-response with the

part in a theatrical performance, using music,

corporations. The New Century Campaign will

school’s many pasts,” say exhibition curators

dance, movement, and design to tell stories

fund student scholarships and fellowships,

Macushla Robinson, MA Liberal Studies ’17,

about experiences that shaped their lives.

faculty support, research centers, and campus

and Anna Harsanyi, BA Liberal Arts ’08.

“A queer space is genuine, emotional, and

renovations and expansion. “We find ourselves

Another SJDC show this year was Speculative

ephemeral,” says Liam Pitts, BFA Product

reflecting on the entirety of our history,” says

Cultures: A Virtual Reality Exhibition, curated

Design ’19. “Our float is a performance of the

David E. Van Zandt, president of The New

by Tina Sauerlaender, Peggy Schoenegge,

queer spaces in our past that have shaped

School. “Securing our goal of $250 million will

and Erandy Vergara, which invited artists to

our individual identities. All of our stories

enable us to continue bringing valuable ideas

reflect on new forms of cultural expression in

transcend time and space to help us navigate

and solutions to a changing world.” To learn

the digital realm. In May, Doorknobs: Beyond

the new worlds we as queer people create and

more about the New Century Campaign—and

the Everyday, part of NYCxDESIGN 2019,

subvert those that seek to disregard us and

invest in a new kind of future—visit the website

opened at WantedDesign. Curated by MFA

diminish our voices.”

below.

Industrial Design alumni Sarah Templin ’18 and

newschool.edu/red/pride

give.newschool.edu

Gregory Beson ’18, the exhibition reimagined the doorknob from speculative and practical perspectives and featured the work of celebrated designers including Jasper Morrison, Bertille Laguet, and Karim Rashid and Parsons faculty members Tucker Viemeister, Allan Wexler, and Rama Chorpash, director of the MFA Industrial Design program. newschool.edu/sjdc


Paul Rand Idealist, Realist, Poet, Visionary

In his 50-year career, graphic designer Paul Rand ’39 helped reinvent the grammar of American design, bringing to advertising, layout, and logos a precise yet heartfelt kind of modernism that would influence generations of designers to come. “Simplicity is not the goal,” Rand said. “It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.”

Born Peretz Rosenbaum in Brooklyn in 1914, Rand began his

design career painting signs for his family’s grocery store. Against his father’s wishes, he studied advertising design at Parsons, absorbing the modernist influences of Bauhaus visionary László Moholy-Nagy and German Sachplakat ads—which he soon transformed into a distinctly American look.

By his mid-20s, Rand had changed his name to avoid anti-

Semitism and had won renown for his inventive layouts and daring covers for the anti-fascist magazine Direction. He even earned the praise of his hero Moholy-Nagy, who hailed him as “an idealist and a realist, using the language of the poet and businessman.”

Rand is credited with bringing the aesthetic of and grid system

used in Swiss design to the United States in the postwar period. He taught at institutions including Yale while applying his avantgarde principles for a growing roster of major American companies, including IBM, ABC, and UPS. Rand was also known for his sense of whimsy, evident in his humorous, now iconic IBM rebus.

Although he died in 1996, Rand is still remembered as an artist,

theorist, and teacher—and one of the founding fathers of modernist American graphic design. newschool.edu/red/rand Left: Rand photographed in front of his poster design for the 1950 film No Way Out.

profiles

Below: Rand’s iconic rebus logotype for IBM (1981).

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“Simplicity is not the goal.”


Nina Schwarz and Su Beyazit Transdisciplinary Creatives

“From the very beginning, we had a unified idea of aesthetic and of what kind of place it would be.” On a hot summer day, Nina Schwarz and Su Beyazit, BFA Integrated

After graduation, the pair pursued very different careers: Schwarz

Design ’10, are sipping ice coffees in the backyard of their Clinton Hill

went into the art world, working at two galleries, Gavin Brown’s

café and design store, Relationships. After one year in business, they

enterprise and Salon 94; Beyazit worked as a stylist before opening

take a moment to reflect on how they first met at Parsons and how,

a vintage store and salon called Su’juk. Eventually, the two decided

15 years later, their friendship turned into a creative partnership.

to open their own shop—a “multipurpose” store, says Beyazit; “a

“From the very beginning, we had a unified idea of aesthetic and of

holistic retail experience,” Schwarz adds.

what kind of place it would be,” says Schwarz. The space is bright

and airy, with a DIY faux-terrazzo bar and offbeat seating in primary

varied interests and experiences together in a single space. “We had

colors. Shelves and pedestals display vintage furniture and new

been buying things for four months and storing them in the basement,

home goods by local designers, many of whom are also Parsons

just hoping they would come together when we staged the space for

alumni.

opening week,” says Beyazit. Luckily, the concept has been working:

This open-ended definition meant finding a way to bring their

After a year, both the shop and the friendship are thriving. relationshipsnyc.com Schwarz and Beyazit at Relationships, the café and art space

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Parsons re:D

they designed.


Alex Levin and Ryan Riegner Digital Pioneers

When Alex Levin, BBA Strategic Design and Management ’10, and Ryan Riegner, BFA Communication Design ’10, met at Parsons, they almost immediately began collaborating on a business venture, creating the Web design company Albino Rhino in their dorm room. The two got their first gig creating logos and a website for a tool company. “It was like 400 bucks,” Riegner jokes. “And our website was in Flash,” Levin adds.

Since then, Levin and Riegner’s business has matured into a full-

service digital consultancy with offices in Milan, Barcelona, Brooklyn, and Los Angeles. After graduation, they established a fashion brand, moonlighting to support the business by helping technology companies with their visual communication needs. Realizing that this work was more profitable, the pair decided to give up the fashion brand and focus full-time on digital consulting.

Today L+R’s array of services includes brand strategy, app

development, research and usability testing, and graphic design. The firm has built apps for Unilever, designed branding for Amazon, and created VR experiences for Louis Vuitton. Clients are drawn to L+R by its A-to-Z approach and extreme attention to detail. Levin believes that the firm’s success stems from combining these two qualities.

“When a designer wants to help a coder do their job better and the

developer is excited about that—that’s what we strive for on our team,” Levin says. “I found that same spirit of collaboration at Parsons.” levinriegner.com Below: The immersive in-store activation L+R created for Louis Vuitton combines virtual reality and mixed reality

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profiles

features.


Hlynur Atlason Design Investigator

“The Lína Swivel Chair embodies Hlynur’s ability to harmonize aesthetics, sustainability, and comfort in pieces you want to keep for years.” —J ohn McPhee, President, Design Wit hin Reach and Herman Miller Retail For industrial designer Hlynur Atlason ’01, finding a creative solution to a client’s needs is first and foremost about research. Conducting research allows a designer “to build a really solid picture, to then be able to design with confidence,” he explains. This approach extends far beyond customer demographics or intel on competitors; it involves observing and speaking with anyone who might touch the product his firm, ATLASON/studio, is designing.

Atlason didn’t set out to be a designer; he certainly

didn’t take such a methodical approach to life. Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, Atlason had a vague notion of designing cars or motorcycles but moved to Paris “to chase a girl.” He found his way to Parsons Paris and finished a BFA in industrial design at Parsons in New York, where he learned the hard way to always question first assumptions.

After spending a few years in branding, Atlason

returned to his true passion and opened a design studio in Soho in 2003. His output includes furniture for Design Within Reach and Ercol, home goods for the MoMA Design Store, packaging for Xbox and The Sill, and Billie, an ergonomic body razor for women. Diverse as they may seem, his projects all reflect Atlason’s deep

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commitment to research.

Atlason developed the chair shown at left in

response to a call for compact contemporary seating put out by John McPhee, President of Design Within Reach and Herman Miller Retail. Of the result, McPhee says, “The Lína Swivel Chair embodies Hlynur’s ability to harmonize aesthetics, sustainability, and comfort in pieces you want to keep for years. His research-driven methodology offers promise for companies who want to stay at the front edge of sustainable practice.”

Atlason jokes that his native Iceland has a saying

for times when things aren’t coming together: “Þetta reddast,” “It will work out.” Judging from Atlason’s success, it certainly has. atlason.com Atlason poses in his versatile Lína Swivel Chair, created for Design Within Reach.


Willi Smith People’s Designer

“I don’t design clothes for the Queen, but for the people who wave at her as she goes by,” said fashion designer Willi Smith ’69. This credo animated Smith’s approach to his brand, WilliWear, which brought casual yet refined looks to millions of people around the world. At the time of his death, the New York Times described Smith as “one of the fashion industry’s most successful young designers, known for spirited and trendy clothes.”

Born in 1948 in Philadelphia, Smith came to Parsons on

scholarship but left before he could finish his degree. In 1976, he launched a new brand with a business partner, Laurie Mallet, focusing on informal ready-to-wear, slouchy but stylish staple garments that were an immediate hit with buyers. The brand was also regarded highly by fashion insiders, earning Smith an American Fashion Critics’ Coty Award and the Cutty Sark Men’s Fashion Award.

Haring and Jean-Claud. Smith’s career was cut short by his untimely death from an AIDS-related illness in 1987.

For those who wore his clothes, Smith’s brand represented

an exuberant yet accessible approach to fashion that welcomed customers of every race, gender, and sexual orientation.

“Willi was a great friend,” said classmate and Parsons Board of

Governors chair Kay Unger. “He had the most effusive personality and an energy that carried throughout his work. It was his desire to make clothing that people could afford and be comfortable in.” newschool.edu/red/smith Below: A model in ready-to-wear at a 1973 New York runway show; The wide availability of WilliWear sewing patterns

profiles

allowed Smith to exercise broad influence on American fashion.

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“I don’t design clothes for the Queen, but for the people who wave at her as she goes by.”

On top of running his business, Smith frequently collaborated

with artists outside of the fashion world, designing T-shirts with Keith


Sara Little Turnbull Product Polymath

Born in New York City in 1917, Sara Little Turnbull ’39 was an influential graphic designer, photographer, editor, and industrial designer. Described by MoMA senior curator Paola Antonelli as “a daring trailblazer,” Turnbull designed interiors, furniture, housewares, design layouts, and textiles; worked in food product and materials development; and helped create medical devices, toys, and space suits. A pioneering woman in a field dominated by men, Turnbull touched the lives of Americans in countless ways, bringing a uniquely research-driven, optimistic approach to the design of everyday life. Turnbull attended Parsons on scholarship, studying advertising design and having Paul Rand as a classmate. She took her first job at Marshall Fields as a designer and assistant art director. In 1941, she joined House Beautiful magazine, eventually becoming the decorating editor. In 1958, she created Sara Little Design Consultant, an industrial design and market research firm whose clients included Corning, 3M, General Mills, Revlon, Campbell’s Soup, Neiman Marcus, Ford, Macy’s, and Coca-Cola. Turnbull came to be known as “corporate America’s secret weapon.” An accomplished practitioner, Turnbull was also a dedicated teacher and sat on Parsons’ Board of Trustees. In 1988, she opened the Process of Change: Laboratory for Innovation and Design, a studio and archive housed in the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Turnbull died in 2015, leaving behind the Sara Little Turnbull Foundation, which supports the Parsons Scholars program and is dedicated to helping underrepresented youth and women advance in design, and the Sara Little Turnbull Center for Design Institute, whose mission to educate the public about design draws on Turnbull’s rich collection of research artifacts. saralittlefoundation.org centerfordesign.net Turnbull shown with objects suited to casual contemporary lifestyle: a table she designed for McGuire and tableware for

© 2019 Center for Design Institute

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Parsons re:D

Corning Pyrex’s Terra line.


Creative Confluence Tracing the shared history of Parsons and The New School by Jenny Swadosh and John Haffner Layden Today, as the university celebrates its centennial, re:D looks back at the histories of Parsons School of Design and The New School and finds common themes and complementary but distinct identities. In the half century since Parsons joined The New School, global shifts have strengthened the bond between the two celebrated institutions, transforming their educational

The union between Parsons and The New School may seem like an

skills taught at Parsons useful tools for elevating messages, sharing

unlikely one, given the schools’ distinct origins, offerings, and their

insights, and stirring people to action. Similarly, as design has

original locations—Parsons ensconced uptown and The New School

assumed a more prominent role in business, industry, and daily

in what is now Chelsea. But both were founded by individuals fiercely

life, the resources offered by sociologists, anthropologists, and

committed to freedom of thought and expression, engaged with

economists have made design more effective in those sectors. By

the world beyond our national borders, and fearless in embracing

strengthening each other in these ways, Parsons and The New

the new.

School have been preparing young changemakers for the challenges

Connecting the schools’ histories are principles that guided both schools’ founders. William Merritt Chase broke away from

of the 21st century and beyond. On the following pages, you will find a timeline tracing the

the Art Students League to create a school where artists could

course of the two schools’ development and reflecting their shared

experiment free from pressure to adopt the styles, themes, and

mission to educate inclusively, solve problems creatively, and

techniques of European academic art. Similarly, progressive

champion justice broadly and boldly. All of the spreads include

scholars including James Harvey Robinson, Charles Beard, and

a note providing historical context to frame the campus events

Thorstein Veblen set out to found a school that would foster the

presented in the images and captions. Together they document the

free exchange of ideas, experimentation, and the informed citizenry

ways Parsons and the rest of The New School have integrated over

needed for a robust democracy. Over time, each school won renown

time, becoming better together and amplifying the impact of our

for its curriculum, its critical contributions to its home city, and the

university’s work.

influence of the students who passed through its doors and went on to change the world. After Parsons joined The New School in 1970, the two institutions began to influence each other in unexpected ways. In a world that is increasingly digital, image driven, and beset by complex problems, social scientists and people working in the humanities have found the visual storytelling and design thinking

Jenny Swadosh joined the New School Archives and Special Collections in 2009. She collaborates with Parsons faculty to develop experiential learning opportunities in the archives. John Haffner Layden writes about art and design for platforms including MOMA.org, Dezeen, Rizzoli, and Random House. He is The New School’s director of marketing content.

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offerings and making their graduates uniquely relevant.


LAUNCH OF PROGRAMS & SCHOOLS 1896–1901

1904–1907

1913-1919

• Fine Art (drawing, painting, composition) (1896)

• Fashion Design (then called Costume Design)

By 1913, Parsons has begun offering

• Design (decorative and applied) (1896)

• Graphic Design (then called Advertising)

classes in textile design. The school

• Illustration (1898)

• Interior Design (then called Interior Decoration)

then introduces courses for teachers,

• Architecture (1901)

These curricula are the first formal study

young people, and World War I

programs of their kind in the world.

servicemen (1918) as well as summer sessions (1919).

1898

1902

The Chase School moves

The Chase School

to 57 West 57th Street.

becomes the New York 1909

School of Art.

The New York School of Art becomes the New

1911

York School of

A New Leader: Educator Frank Alvah Parsons,

Fine and Applied

hired by Chase in 1904, is named director

Art (NYSFAA).

of the NYSFAA. Parsons champions the

York School of Art has moved to 2239 Broadway.

ORIGINS OF PARSONS

New York School of Fine and Applied Arts, c. 1933

1896 William Merritt Chase establishes the Chase School, intended to foster self-expression and experimentation. Open enrollment courses, offered year ’round, include drawing, painting, Costume design for student production of The Diplomat, 1920

composition, illustration, architecture, and design.

1896

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1900

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1896–1950 Challenging the Status Quo: Parsons and The New School are founded in response to the tradition-bound educational institutions of the early 20th century. Parsons is established during New York’s Gilded Age by William Merritt Chase, an artist dissatisfied with traditional art training. By 1950, educator Frank Alvah Parsons and his successors will have remade the school, encouraging designers to engage with an industrializing world and apply design in new ways to meet its demands. The New School for Social Research is founded in the aftermath of World War I with the goal of nurturing a more democratic and equitable society through adult education. “This is the hour for the experiment,” declares a New School pamphlet from 1918, citing New York City as an ideal campus “because it is the greatest social science laboratory in the world.”

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THE FOUNDING OF THE NEW SCHOOL

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Parsons re:D

Tuition for nine months: $55.

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1919

1910

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—Frank Alvah Parsons (c. 1920)

By 1906, the New

“Art is not for the few, for the talented, for the genius, for the rich, nor the church... Industry is the nation’s life, art is the quality of beauty in expression, and industrial art is the cornerstone of our national art.”

democratization of design education. 1906

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The New School for Social Research is founded by James Harvey Robinson, Charles Beard, and others, several of whom resigned from Columbia University to protest the university’s censure of criticism of U.S. involvement in World War I. Influenced by the ideas of John Dewey, they envision an educational system with an open curriculum, minimal hierarchy, and free discussion of controversial ideas. Housed in rented brownstones at 465–469 West 23rd Street, the school opens with 200 students taking in lectures and seminars in the social sciences.

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1920

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1948

• Parsons partners with NYU to offer Bachelor of Science degrees. • The Paris Ateliers reopen after the war.

Empire chair rendering by Interior Design student Ina Dell Marvin, in Paris, c. 1930

1943 1939

Prominent womenswear designer

The NYSFAA moves

Norman Norell serves as a visiting critic

to 136 East 57th Street.

until his death in 1972. 1941–1942

1934

Industry Leaders on Board: Interior designer and alumna Eleanor McMillen Brown joins the NYSFAA’s board, which includes photographer Cecil Beaton. McMillen serves on the

The NYSFAA is renamed Parsons

1948

School of Design in honor of

The First Parsons

the school’s influential longtime

Fashion Benefit is held,

director (1941). The following

coinciding with the

year, Van Day Truex becomes

emergence of New York

president of the school.

City as a fashion capital.

board for 40 years. Fashion illustration class, Parsons Paris, c. 1920s 1930s 1921

History in the Making: Jean-Michel Frank

The Paris Ateliers is established by NYSFAA alumnus

and his students design the iconic Parsons

William M. Odom and Frank Alvah Parsons as a satellite

Table at the Paris Ateliers. Legendary

school offering courses in architecture, decorative arts, and

designers Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli,

costume design. In creating the Paris Ateliers, the NYSFAA

and Jean Patou serve as guest critics (1934).

becomes the first American art and design school to found

The Paris Ateliers closes in fall 1939, ahead

a permanent campus abroad.

of the Nazi occupation of the city.

1925

Van Day Truex receives a scholarship to the Paris Ateliers after two years of study at the NYSFAA. He then becomes a faculty member and later the head of the Paris Ateliers. In 1955, he is made president of Tiffany and Co. in New York. 1930

Color spectrum chart by Parsons Paris student Ina Dell Marvin, 1930s

William M. Odom becomes president of the NYSFAA.

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1930

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1940

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1950

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1933

The New School founds the University in Exile as a safe haven for scholars fleeing

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persecution in Europe. 1930–1931

A Home for Creative Ideas: Alvin Johnson (now The New School’s president) hires Austrian-born architect Joseph Urban to design an International Style building at

1921

Alvin Johnson, an economist and the editor of the New Republic, is selected as director of The New

66 West 12th Street, which is completed in

1931-1946

1931. He commissions painters Thomas

Birthplace of the New: Robert Frost, Erwin and

Hart Benton and Camilo Egas and Mexican

Maria Ley Piscator, Aaron Copland, Martha

muralist José Clemente Orozco to create art

Graham, W.E.B. DuBois, Frank Lloyd Wright,

for the interior. The building’s auditorium is

Alexey Brodovitch, and W.H. Auden all share their

one of the country’s first Art Deco interiors.

revolutionary ideas with students including Harry Belafonte, Richard Avedon, and Marlon Brando.

School. Over the next quarter

1926-1946

century, he expands the school’s

In its first decades, The New School

offerings from social science and

offers pioneering courses and

policy courses to include the

workshops in jazz, film, theater, creative

humanities and arts.

writing, psychoanalysis, photography, and African-American history.

José Clemente Orozco and Camilo Egas, in front of Orozco’s New School Mural, 1931


1954

1969

Product/Industrial Design

• Parsons begins offering

(Originally Design in Industry)

Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees • Design Correlations Program (an experimental research program applying Students at an advertising design critique with faculty member James Frangides.

1954 

Parsons moves to 410 East 54th Street.

integrated problem solving skills in fields ranging from prosthetics to aerospace)

1967–1991

1951

Christian Dior offers critique at the Paris Ateliers. 1950s

Cold War Climate: Parsons publishes a booklet, A School and the American Way of Life, with text by school president Pierre Bedard, promoting the connection between design education, democracy, and postwar prosperity

the critiques of celebrated visiting designers, including Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, and Perry Ellis.

Photo from a review of the student show, published in Interiors magazine.

1965

(February 22, 1970; see page 32)

Christian Dior with students George Yazbek and Alda Balestretti in Paris.

—New School President John R. Everett in press release announcing union of two schools,

“Designers are becoming key people in our social structure, and professional design education now more than ever requires that design students be exposed to the liberal arts and broad social perspectives.”

Parsons fashion students benefit from

Interior Design graduates mount A Place to Live, an exhibition proposing alternatives to substandard urban housing.

1967

Interior Design students propose

Parsons joins the

designs for a women’s detention

New School for

center in New York.

Social Research through the

    1951

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1955

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1960

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1965

Ethical Awakening: The 20th century’s second half sees rapid social and political change. The GI Bill makes education accessible for countless veterans, some of whom attend Parsons and return to Europe as students. But postwar prosperity eventually gives way to nationwide unrest. As the city’s infrastructure deteriorates and destruction of the environment continues, young people fight for civil rights and protest the Vietnam War on college campuses, often clashing violently with police. In the midst of this turmoil, Parsons affiliates with The New School for Social Research, allowing for the expansion of degree programs, research centers, and international partnerships. The following decades are characterized by a profound philosophical shift at Parsons. Design comes to be seen as a means of addressing pressing matters such as social inequality and building a more just and environmentally sustainable world.

efforts of future Parsons dean

1964

1968 

The Center for New York City

A Progressive Curriculum: New

Affairs is established on campus.

School students begin to engage with social topics in courses including Homosexuality in Literature from the Gay Nineties to the Present, The Hippie: Psychoanalytic Observations on American Culture, and Black Power and White Politics, which was taught by Shirley Chisholm.

1963

The university hosts a public concert series, Jazz IS Music.

1960 1955–1968

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David C. Levy.

1951–1990

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The University Art Collection is established.

Changemakers on Campus: Margaret Mead,

1963

Hannah Arendt, John Cage, and Martin Luther

Undergraduate Gerda Lerner

King, Jr., engage with students and share new

teaches the first course in

thinking on social issues. Alumni Ed Fancher and

the United States on women’s

Dan Wolf found the Village Voice.

history.


1970

1972

1975

1978

BFA Environmental

• BFA Fine Arts

• BFA Photography

• MFA in Fine Arts (then called Painting, Sculpture,

Design (a program

• BFA Art Education

• BFA in Crafts (clay, fiber,

comprising interior

or Printmaking)

The New School.

• MS Supervision and Administration (visual arts

and metal) • New Associate in Applied

design, architecture,

1989

• Mannes School of Music joins

focus) offered with Bank Street School

program (operates until 1993)

product design, and

Science degrees offer

urban design)

opportunities for career

Policy (later renamed the Milano School) is

changers.

established.

• John Culkin launches the

• Undergraduate Theatre

• The Graduate School of Management and Urban

• The School of Jazz is established by Parsons Dean David C. Levy along

• The Seminar College is established; it is renamed

with musician Arnie Lawrence and

first master’s program in

Eugene Lang College in 1985 in honor of its

media studies in the United

principal benefactor, a trustee who donated

States.

$5 million to the undergraduate liberal arts division.

New School Dean Allen Austill. • MA Liberal Studies: Architecture

1984

1977

Pre-college courses are offered for the first time.

1986

1981

and Design Criticism (offered with New School for Social Research)

• MFA Lighting Design

MA History of Decorative

• BBA Design Marketing (now

Arts (offered with Cooper

Strategic Design and Management)

Hewitt/Smithsonian)

• BA/BFA Dual Degree

1990

• MArch (Architecture) • BFA Computer Art and Design

1983

An affiliate art and design school is established at Altos de Chavón in the Dominican Republic, offering creative education, including associate’s degrees

1970

for transfer to Parsons.

Environment of Change: Students throughout the school respond to current events, mounting an antiwar art show, My God! We’re Losing a Great

1983–84

Country, and organizing activities for the first Earth

The Parsons Paper reports on student trips

Day, including a teach-in led by Whole Earth Catalog

to the Soviet Union (1983) and communist

editor Stewart Brand (shown below). Photo by

Poland and Ronald Reagan’s victory

student Joseph Marcella (see re:Wind, page 33).

(1984).

1979

An affiliation begins between Parsons and Otis School of Art and Design in Los Angeles; it lasts until 1991.

1979

Parsons’ fashion programs move to a building

Faculty member, author, and illustrator

at Seventh Avenue and 40th Street (later named

Maurice Sendak teaches on campus.

the David Schwartz Fashion Education Center).

1972 

Parsons moves to Greenwich Village.

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1973

1977

The New Museum makes The New School its first home. Jeff Koons’ first-ever solo show is later mounted there (1980).

1989

The New School for Social Research brings together dissident intellectuals for covert collaborations with colleagues in the Eastern Bloc, called Democracy Seminars.


1993

1998

BFA Architecture and

MFA Design and Technology

Environmental Design

1994

• The School of Drama is established. • The New School launches an interactive distance

1998

learning program, enabling students to take

Built for Good: The Design Workshop,

courses and pursue a bachelor’s degree online.

Parson’s signature design-build program, is launched with a student project to

1993–1996

renovate New School interiors. The

The New School opens the Environmental

program, still in operation, partners with

Simulation Center, which employs advanced

organizations on a pro bono basis to

imaging techniques in research on urban

develop innovative community facilities.

climate change. Milano establishes urban

1991

1996

In honor of its centennial, Parsons establishes the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Archives Center (later renamed the New School Archives). Below: Anna-Maria Kellen visits the archives

Design Museum

Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian

Entering the Digital Age: As New York City recovers from an economic downturn in the 1990s, Parsons and The New School evolve together, embracing global perspectives, digitalization, and the growth of design as an economic force. As Cold War attitudes recede, immigration policy is loosened, resulting in a more geographically diverse student body at the university. Meanwhile, increasing access to the Internet and digital tools further collapses distances and radically alters communication, design practice, and labor. Parsons and The New School respond by offering new programs and experimenting with online education. Interdisciplinary, collaborative, and project-based learning methods underpin curricula in both institutions—laying the groundwork for closer integration of Parsons and the rest of The New School.

—Andrea Lipps, MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies ’08,

1991–2009

“At Parsons, I learned to see design everywhere and to understand it as an interface with the world.”

studies as a discipline (1996).

1995

                        

1997

Parsons promotes diversity in design education by establishing

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1991–1993 Above: Vera List Courtyard (1997), Martin Puryear and Michael Van Valkenburgh

Parsons Scholars, a three-year

Fighting Censorship: In the early 1990s, The

program that provides NYC high

New School engages with complex cultural

schoolers with college prep and

and national issues. The university, under

creative skills.

the leadership of President Jonathan Fanton, becomes the first institution to challenge the NEA’s anti-obscenity clause (1991). Two years later, the Vera List Center opens, providing a space for public discourse on the intersection of art and politics (1993).

1995

Fine artist Kiki Smith joins Parsons as an artist-in-residence.

1996

Alumnus Robert Tonner donates dolls dressed by celebrated designers from the Parsons community and auctions them at the Parsons Fashion Critics Awards Benefit, a scholarship fundraiser.


2000

2003

Integrated Design BFA

MFA Photography

2009

MFA Interior Design

2001

BFA Digital Design (now Design and Technology)

2006 The Tishman Environment and Design Center is established at The New School under the leadership of

Below: bronXscape (2008), the Design Workshop

Towers. The center addresses

2002–2004

Higher Profile: Parsons continues to establish itself as a fashion pioneer, attracting celebrated

environmental issues by

2008

integrating innovative

Parsons organizes its

research, design, and policy

foster community between

and promotes social justice– focused goals and curricula.

supporters like Diane von Furstenberg and Marvin Traub to its board. Two years later, it gains nationwide recognition when Project Runway begins a 10-year run on campus, with host Tim Gunn, chair of Parsons’ Fashion Design

programs into five schools to and integration of related creative practices.

2007

PETLab, a public interest interactive media lab, is founded in partnership with Games for Change.

department (2004).

Right: Early Warning, Early Action Game, a climate-change collaboration between PETLab and Red Cross/ Red Crescent, played in Senegal in 2009 2005 Above: The Event Corridor (1998), the Design Workshop

2009

Global Focus: Students engage on an international scale, traveling for fieldwork, undertaking projects with a global scope, and serving as researcher-designers for

Parsons School of Design becomes

organizations dedicated to

Parsons The New School for Design,

promoting the public good,

in recognition of its full union with

including UNICEF and CARE.

The New School.

2005

2009 Left: AMPLIFY: Creative and Sustainable Lifestyles in the Lower East Side project exhibition, 2010

Above: Tag Heuer prototype by Yong Yi Lee, Yoav Menachem, and Amit Ran Right: Prism Magnifier by Daniel Martinez for Areaware

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                        2000

Parsons faculty member Joel

2009

DESIS Lab, the

U.S. branch of the international

2005

social innovation

Design + Business: Parsons develops

organization DESIS

ongoing industry

Network, is established at Parsons.

partnerships with

2008

organizations and companies including

2005

Sheila C. Johnson Design

Chanel, Godiva, Tag

The New School unveils

Center (SJDC) established:

Heuer, Metropolis

Kara Walker’s first public

Philanthropist and Parsons

magazine, Areaware,

art installation.

donor Sheila C. Johnson

and International

underwrites a new campus hub, with student curatorial

Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF).

opportunities in the newly renovated Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries, programming for which

Right: Event Horizon (2005), Kara Walker

highlights community engagement and design.


2010

2010–2012

2012

2013

2014

• MFA Transdisciplinary

Milano launches the MA in

• MS Strategic Design and

• The New School introduces

• MS Data

Environmental Policy and

Design

Visualization

university minors.

Management

• MA Fashion Studies

Sustainability Management.

• MS Design and Urban Ecologies

• MFA Fashion Design and

The Urban Policy Lab is

• MA Theories of Urban Practice

first major upgrade to its

established at The New School

• MA Design Studies

foundation-year curriculum,

Society

• BA Journalism +

• Parsons launches the

(2012).

Design

established in 1977.

2011 Scaling Sustainable Parsons and New School students collaborate on research to develop Empowerhouse, a passive solar house that wins awards at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Habitat for Humanity adopts their innovative design scheme for affordable energy-efficient First-year students visit Brooklyn’s FlavorPaper as part of the updated undergraduate curriculum.

housing.

2014

2010–2019

The New School for Social

Era of Resilience: Parsons  expands its academic offerings to prepare designers for  complex environments and emerging  fields including service design, new media, data visualization, and scenario building. As curricula increasingly dissolve the boundaries between disciplines, members of the university community work together on initiatives with heightened impact. One hundred years ago, The New School’s founders set out to repair a society ravaged by World War I through progressive education. Today designers, artists, performers, public policy experts, and  social scientists at the university are motivated by a  similar commitment as they work to address  climate change and foster a more sustainable, just, and inclusive society.

Research launches the Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography, and Social Thought (GIDEST), a university-wide initiative to link design and social science capacities

2013

Parsons Paris is launched as a reinvigorated university hub, offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

2010

2010

2011

A major Parsons-College of Performing Arts collaboration, Mannes Opera’s Il Postino featured costumes, props, and stage projections created by Parsons students and performances by Mannes students.

Embracing Craft: Parsons begins a multiyear

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2012

partnership with Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in which students engage broadly with craft, reworking fashions by alumnus Marc Jacobs and documenting traditional making practices.

2013

2014

2011–2014

DESIS Lab receives significant grants for collaborative community building initiatives, including financial self-sufficiency projects. 2013

Design and Performance: In a multiyear collaboration with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, students from Mannes and Parsons’ Fashion Design and Design and Technology programs design innovative orchestral garments and interactive elements for recitals. 2014

University Center Opens: Project Qupre, by Bobae Moon, Product Design ’11, is jewelry that put pressure on wearers’ acupressure points.

The LEED Gold–certified building, ranked one of the most The gown worn by Mannes pianist Shulin Guo, designed by BFA Fashion Design students, is constructed to make performing comfortable. A digital projection by Design and Technology students is cast on her, enlivening the recital. At left, percussionist Jessica Tsang displays her motion-capture sensor gloves.

sustainable university buildings in the United States, enables The New School to gather all of its U.S.-based programs in Greenwich Village.

Cork, linoleum, an samples from HM library.


2015

2017

2018

2019

• MFA Industrial Design

MPS Communication Design

MFA Textiles

• MPS Fashion Management

• The School of Jazz and Contemporary

• BFA Design

Music, the School of Drama, and Mannes College come together to form the

History and

College of Performing Arts.

Practice

as the university establishes a new visual identity 2015

Parsons Proud: Parsons is ranked among the world’s top art and design schools by Quacquarelli Symonds World Rankings; the school has maintained its position consistently since.

Brussels-born Ari Zolberg, who began teaching at The New School in 1983, founded his namesake institute in 1993.

2013–2017

2016

The Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility

Inclusive Design: Grace Jun,

brings together artists and activists responding

MFA Design and Technology ’16,

to global migration. Former U.N. Deputy High

launches inclusive fashion and

Commissioner for Refugees Alexander Aleinikoff

tech initiative, Open Style Lab,

later reshapes the institute (2017), which receives

at Parsons; projects focus on

funding from New School trustee Henry Arnhold.

solutions for people with disabilities.

2015

Urban Intervention: Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments (SCE) begins an ongoing partnership with the NYC Department of Transportation, resulting in Street Seats—sustainably

2018

Rethinking Prisons: Interdisciplinary initiatives are launched at Eugene Lang College (Lang Prison Initiative, Humanities Action Lab), Schools of Public Engagement (Center for Transformative Mentoring) and Parsons (Reimagining Justice: NYC Without Rikers and the MFA Fashion Design and Society program’s Homeless But Not Hopeless studio project), to address various dimension of the prison system. 2017–2019

Equality in Action: Social justice curricula include Mindy Fullilove’s 400 Years of Inequality, Abigail Perez Aguilera’s Ecofeminism and Global Justice, and

—Prabal Gurung, AAS Fashion Design ’00

Parsons reassumes the name Parsons School of Design

“You feel the creativity up and down every hallway… Parsons allowed me to find my way not only in fashion and design, but also in a city where I knew no one. I was exposed to all different realms of design, and it became a crucial time for me in my career.”

2015

Deva Woodly’s Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Necessity of Social Movements. 2019

New School Board of Trustees Chair Joseph Gromek gives $8.5 million to establish The Joseph and Gail Gromek Institute for Fashion Business, which supports Parsons students aiming to become industry leaders.

produced public seating on campus.

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2015

The Healthy Materials Lab

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(HML) is created to promote the use of nontoxic, sustainable materials in the built environment.

nd rubber flooring ML’s materials

2017

2015

Capitol Idea: Parsons students and faculty participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s first-ever fashion education workshop, repurposing materials for an interior installation in the White House. 2015

Global Outreach: In partnership with Donna Karan, Parsons founds the Design, Organization, Training (DOT) Center, a vocational hub for Haiti’s artisan community.

2016

Data Driven: MS Data Visualization students partner with the UN Development Programme on Africa to provide policymakers with data-driven tools for advancing gender-related justice. 2016

Future Facing: Designers Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby establish the Designed Realities Lab at

Parsons opens the Making Center, 35,000 square feet of creative tools and resources, thanks to a major gift from designer and New School and Parsons board member, Kay Unger ’68. 2017

Performer-composer John Zorn brings his iconic NYC music venue,

2018

Fashioned for All: Parsons students reimagine the design of the hospital gown for Care+Wear, a healthwear company, with support from AARP. They develop a sustainable menstruation garment for displaced persons, in collaboration with the UN Population Fund, clothing manufacturer HELA, and refugees in Kenya.

The Stone, to the university,

2018

offering College of Performing Arts

The New School for Social Research’s

students performance and arts

Arien Mack leads The New University

management opportunities.

in Exile Consortium, a group of

Parsons, leading students in

universities and colleges committed to

speculative research.

protecting persecuted scholars.


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DISCOVER SOME OF THE CHANGEMAKERS WHO HAVE KEPT PARSONS AT THE CUTTING EDGE OF CREATIVITY

A LEGACY      OF DESIGN

EDWARD HOPPER, FINE ARTIST NORMAN ROCKWELL, PAINTER AND ILLUSTRATOR JOSEPH PLATT, INTERIOR DESIGNER AND SET DESIGNER FOR GONE WITH THE WIND ROSE CONNOR, ARCHITECT GILBERT ADRIAN, FASHION DESIGNER AND COSTUME DESIGNER FOR THE WIZARD OF OZ VAN DAY TRUEX, ADVERTISING DESIGNER AND HEAD OF TIFFANY & CO. CLAIRE MCCARDELL, FASHION DESIGNER MELVIN DWORK, INTERIOR DESIGNER ALBERT HADLEY, INTERIOR DESIGNER BILL BLASS, FASHION DESIGNER DONALD BROOKS, FASHION DESIGNER BETTY STEVENS SHERRILL, INTERIOR DESIGNER AND CHAIR OF MCMILLEN INC ADRI, FASHION DESIGNER ANGELO DONGHIA, INTERIOR DESIGNER BEA FEITLER, GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND ART DIRECTOR OF MS.  MARIO BUATTA, INTERIOR DESIGNER  JOEL SCHUMACHER, FILMMAKER AND COSTUME DESIGNER DONNA KARAN, FASHION DESIGNER KAY UNGER, FASHION DESIGNER MICHAELE VOLLBRACHT, FASHION DESIGNER AND ILLUSTRATOR MICHAEL DONOVAN AND NANCYE GREEN, DESIGNERS AND FOUNDERS OF DONOVAN/GREEN RICH SILVERSTEIN, CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND CREATOR OF GOT MILK? AD CAMPAIGN JEFFREY BANKS, FASHION DESIGNER AND AUTHOR ANNA SUI, FASHION DESIGNER JUAN MONTOYA, INTERIOR DESIGNER DEE MACDONALD-MILLER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, JONES LANG LASALLE PATRICK KELLY, FASHION DESIGNER JAMIE DRAKE, INTERIOR DESIGNER NARCISO RODRIGUEZ, FASHION DESIGNER

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1. Costume designs for The Wizard of Oz (1939) by Gilbert Adrian. 2. Dress by Claire McCardell. 3. Bizarre Blazaar (2019) by Nina Chanel Abney. Courtesy of Nina Chanel Abney and Kravets Wehby Gallery. 4. Google Glass (2013), a project led by Robert Wong. 5. Set of Tom Ford’s A Single Man (2009, with wardrobe design by Ford). 6. Ugly Doll by Sun-Min Kim and David Horvath. 7. Set design by Joseph Platt for Gone with the Wind (1939). 8. Interior by Mario Buatta. 9. Falling (Cornfield), 2007, by Ryan McGinley. Courtesy of Ryan McGinley and Artists Commissions. 10. Cover design mockup by Bea Feitler (1982). 11. Donna Karan's Seven Easy Pieces collection, (1985).

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EXCELLENCE

ISAAC MIZRAHI, FASHION DESIGNER AND TV PRESENTER MARC JACOBS, FASHION DESIGNER VICTORIA HAGAN, INTERIOR DESIGNER BARBARA KRUGER, ARTIST AND GRAPHIC DESIGNER TRACY REESE, FASHION DESIGNER ALINA ROYTBERG, FOUNDER OF BEAUTY BRAND FRESH TOM FORD, FASHION DESIGNER AND FILM DIRECTOR BOB WILLIAMS, CO-FOUNDER OF MITCHELL GOLD + BOB WILLIAMS ALEX LEE, PRODUCT DESIGNER SUSAN WEBER SOROS, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF BARD GRADUATE CENTER REED KRAKOFF, DESIGNER AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF TIFFANY & CO. RYAN MCGINLEY, PHOTOGRAPHER  AI WEIWEI, FINE ARTIST ROBERT WONG, CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER AT GOOGLE CREATIVE LAB ROBIN PREISS GLASSER ILLUSTRATOR OF THE FANCY NANCY SERIES SHEILA BRIDGES, INTERIOR DESIGNER CHRISTIANE LEMIEUX, FOUNDER OF DWELLSTUDIO SUN-MIN KIM AND DAVID HORVATH, ILLUSTRATORS AND CO-CREATORS OF UGLY DOLLS PRABAL GURUNG, FASHION DESIGNER LAZARO HERNANDEZ AND JACK MCCOLLOUGH (PROENZA SCHOULER), FASHION DESIGNERS ZACH LIEBERMAN, NEW MEDIA ARTIST AND CO-CREATOR OF OPENFRAMEWORKS CHRISTIAN MARC SCHMIDT, DESIGNER AND FOUNDER OF SCHEMA ALEXANDER WANG, FASHION DESIGNER MARC THORPE, ARCHITECT AND DESIGNER EVAN ROTH, INTERACTION DESIGNER AND FOUNDER OF GRAFFITI RESEARCH LAB MANUEL LIMA, UX DESIGNER AND AUTHOR NINA CHANEL ABNEY, FINE ARTIST CARLY CUSHNIE, FASHION DESIGNER ARIEL KENNAN, INTEGRATED DESIGNER DUNCAN TONATIUH, AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR SOPHIA SUNWOO, CO-FOUNDER OF THE

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Parsons re:D

DATA

DESIG

DESIGNING DA

SIGNING


DESIGNING DA GNING DATA PARSONS DESIGNERS ENGAGE WITH THE PROMISE AND CHALLENGE OF A FUTURE SHAPED BY DATA

In an 11th-floor classroom at Parsons School of Design, students discuss the week’s tech headlines. Work tables speckled with paint have been pulled together in a large square, and the New York skyline—a reminder that we are situated in a global hub of commerce and creativity—rises through broad windows in the background. Informed by the digital activism of professor David Carroll ’00, the subject of Netflix’s recent documentary The Great Hack, the conversation covers a spectrum of topics. Are algorithms firing Amazon warehouse workers? What happens if Instagram removes the “like” function? Will YouTube’s crackdown on toxic content affect shareholder profits? “The future is private,” one student says, quoting Mark Zuckerberg, and his peers chuckle at the irony. The debate is energetic. Beyond their connections to coursework, these questions frame students’ lived experience as digital natives and

D

budding designers. Co-taught by Carroll and Melanie Crean—associate professors at Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology—Dark Data is a seminar that invites students to study digital tracking infrastructures created around the world, along with the broader possibilities of mass data collection. Questions posed in the classroom each week reflect a larger undertaking at Parsons. From data ethics and machine learning workshops to research conducted by professors, students, and alumni, the design school is pioneering a new approach to data. In keeping with its tradition of blurring disciplinary lines, Parsons is teaching young creators to think critically about the designer’s role in shaping the data-driven future. Back in 2014, Carroll was simultaneously launching the Dark Data course (then called Surveillance Design) and trying to get his content start-up off the ground. While integrating Facebook into his app, he discovered that the platform was offering developers unfiltered access to huge amounts of user data. “I started to feel the pressure of invading people’s privacy to make money,” says Carroll. “The default setting in the industry was maximum data collection.”

25

G ATA

by Lilit Markosian


Earlier this year, David Carroll, MFA Design and Technology ’00, was prominently featured in the critically acclaimed Netflix documentary The Great Hack, which

26

Parsons re:D

explores Cambridge Analytica’s data hacking scandal.

The realization that anonymity on the Internet is a myth took Carroll’s

“Our students are working in the industry, building the infrastructure of

career and the Dark Data curriculum in a new direction. Within five years,

commercial surveillance, whether they realize it or not,” Carroll explains.

the professor has emerged as a prominent digital privacy activist, and

“Even as user interface or experience designers, they will have to confront

the seminar has evolved to encompass Silicon Valley’s most pressing

ethical and social justice dilemmas in their work.” He hopes students’

ethical controversies. Last year, its focus was Cambridge Analytica, a

Parsons education will prepare them to ask difficult questions and create

British consulting firm that mined data from millions of Facebook users

technologies that serve rather than exploit users.

and allegedly used that information to target U.S. voters with political

One doesn’t have to look far to see that Carroll’s hopes are not in

ads. Carroll became personally involved when he sued Cambridge

vain. His students are actively engaged in developing a new ethic of data

Analytica for access to his voter file from the 2016 election. He says that

collection and management. For example, Ellie Frymire ’19—an MS Data

this nationwide scandal was another “oil-spill moment”—an event that

Visualization and Dark Data alumna—used her thesis project as an

changed attitudes toward social media and digital privacy both in and

opportunity to illuminate prevalent attitudes toward the “me too”

outside of the classroom.

movement. Frymire harvested more than one million tweets posted with

Last spring, Carroll’s students explored data-driven platforms

the #MeToo hashtag and employed machine learning methods to identify

created in the United States

trends in the data set. She then created an interactive visualization that

and

makes it easy to browse through the tweets for common themes and words.

“OUR STUDENTS ARE WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY, BUILDING THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF COMMERCIAL SURVEILLANCE WHETHER THEY REALIZE IT OR NOT” DAVID CARROLL

abroad.

Case

studies

ranged from Silicon Valley’s

According to Frymire, her #MeToo project presents information in an

infringement on user rights

agnostic way, allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions. “I think how

and

that

we direct the communication of data is pivotal for designers,” she says. In

emphasize regulation to India’s

her view, it’s important to consider what the most ethical method of telling

biometric citizen registry and

a story and sharing information is. Frymire’s thesis does more than reveal

China’s

digital

subnarratives in a global movement. It represents an ethical application

students—

of user information that social media companies usually funnel into

graduates and undergraduates

invasive advertising channels. Her work shows that data-driven programs

in

are not necessarily synonymous with privacy invasion and surveillance—

European

models

omnipresent

surveillance. Parsons’

The

Design

and

Technology programs—brought

they can also be tools for social research and empowerment.

their research into the classroom each week and developed an online

Frymire, who came to Parsons after several years working as a tech

publication that presents their investigative journalism and data

consultant in a business setting, describes herself as a “data optimist.”

visualizations. Also called Dark Data, the website thoughtfully explores

Recognizing that technologists can get caught in silos, she chose Parsons

every facet of the modern digital experience. The website’s masthead

for her graduate studies in order to challenge her thinking. “I was thrilled

states that Dark Data “needs no privacy policy”—it does not store

that there were these classes that would advance my career but also

cookies or use tracking codes.

broaden my perspective,” she says. After her experience in Carroll’s Dark

Beyond encouraging young designers to educate themselves about

Data course and with other learning opportunities—such as working

the Internet platforms they use daily, Carroll says the ultimate purpose

with the United Nations to analyze data on global gender inequalities—

of Dark Data is to prepare students for the creative economy they will

Frymire began to consider the complications related to data collection

soon step into. Alumni of the course have been recruited by influential

and analysis. “Parsons taught me that data is powerful. Understanding that

global players such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Palantir, and the CIA.

power and how it’s used in a designer role was what changed my worldview.”


“PARSONS TAUGHT ME THAT DATA IS POWERFUL. UNDERSTANDING THAT POWER AND HOW IT’S USED IN A DESIGNER ROLE WAS WHAT CHANGED MY WORLDVIEW.” ELLIE FRYMIRE

Frymire’s #MeToo project,

+

which she presented at the Design Indaba conference in South

Africa

this

year,

embodies the kind of methodology she has gone on to master and transform into a career with Two-N, a leading data visualization firm in New York City. Today her clients include prominent news and advertising

agencies.

And

despite requests to mold information in a certain way, Frymire is steadfast in her commitment to presenting data intentionally and ethically. She feels empowered to push for transparency. Because everything in a data visualization—including color, font, and type size—can be interpreted as information, Frymire says, design can be a powerful “mediator between message and audience.” Clients often fail to see the gaps in the data and concepts they want to present. The designer’s job is to identify and eliminate discrepancies. For example, there is a difference between stating that “80 percent of people like strawberries” and “Of those people that eat fruit, 80 percent like

Ellie Frymire presents her thesis work at the Design Indaba conference in

strawberries.” By monitoring such details, she explains, designers can

Cape Town, South Africa.

do their part to make data representations unambiguous and more accurate. “If the message is clear and ethical, the design should reflect that.”

at Parsons. In his mind, data is an abstraction that is neither good nor

Making the transition from data optimist to data realist is a common

bad. “It’s one of many ways to understand the world, the basis for most

experience throughout the industry. Carroll has noticed a growing

scientific inquiry, but it can be misleading.”

awareness and culture shift at Parsons as well. “Five years ago, many

Hill encourages his students to explore the potential of machine

of us were unquestioning and in the exuberant throes of thinking, ‘What

learning and the 21st century’s unprecedented computing power. Much

can go wrong?’ The deflation of that euphoria has translated into a

can be achieved as long as aspiration is coupled with critical thought.

deeper criticality.” But a more critical approach does not preclude hope

Awareness is key. Whether they are designers or coders or both, students

for better industry standards or the possibility of employing data science

must be aware that every data-driven program is susceptible to critical

in beneficial ways.

errors. A facial recognition algorithm that is fed a data set biased in favor

“I don’t ever see data as the problem as much as I see interpretation as

of white people, for example, may fail to recognize the faces of people of

the problem,” says Aaron Hill, assistant professor of data visualization,

color. “It’s very important to stay connected to the ways in which it can

who leads several machine learning and data visualization classes

go wrong,” says Hill, “and then work with optimism but also with the knowledge of those vulnerabilities.” Nuanced and humane data models will undoubtedly be developed as the industry advances. According to Hill, ethical data cultivation and analysis call for diverse professional backgrounds. Most data visualizations are built from scratch and require in-depth knowledge of computing and database systems. Designers must be able to grapple with rigorous quantitative challenges while searching for the most effective visual communication methods. “It takes interfacing with very complex data that have to be aggregated, augmented, cleaned, and interpreted,” explains the professor. “These are very different skill sets, and someone in this discipline has to be able to traverse all of them.” Parsons’ ongoing engagement with interdisciplinary practice makes their academic careers, students combine design and technical expertise with the critical outlook developed in seminars like Dark Data, finding new ways to make data mining and amalgamation more transparent. “I look at the way that fashion has been introspective and tried to deal with the moral issues of the industry,” says Carroll. “It’s inspiring to think about what we can do in our own fields to support that impulse to be questioning and critical.” Engaging with data ethics is merely a first step. Significant change in the data-driven economy requires more than an adjustment in attitude— it calls for a new kind of designer. The creative and tech industries are converging as they evolve, and designers trained in data analytics and machine learning can occupy an influential space in that world. Lilit Markosian is New-York based and writes about the effects of new technologies on culture and community. She is currently pursuing a degree in creative writing.

Students in the Dark Data course edit their digital publication. See their work here: newschool.edu/red/dark-data.

27

the school an ideal place to foster new perspectives on data. Throughout


Leo and Diane Dillon Illustrators of Change

Many creative associations develop at Parsons, and the school has produced a number of marriages as well. More rare, however, are partnerships like the one between book illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon ’56. From Brooklyn and Los Angeles respectively, the two met as art students at Parsons, where they “competed bitterly,” Leo recalled in an interview with the American Institute of Graphic Arts. But years of artistic rivalry produced an unexpected chemistry, and a year after graduation, the two married and began a decadeslong collaboration illustrating science fiction, fantasy, and children’s books. The Dillons spoke of a creative force they called It, an artist who emerged as they worked and whose powers were greater than the sum of their individual abilities. The Dillons’ collaborative creative process was unusual; so was their early support for diversity, especially in an era when most children’s books featured white characters. An interracial couple with a mixed-race son, they sought to advance the representation of children of all backgrounds while employing a multicultural design language inspired by sources ranging from 1960s psychedelia to Native American design and Japanese woodcuts to illuminated medieval manuscripts. The Dillons’ work appears on the cover and in the pages of more than 100 books and earned them Caldecott Medals in 1976 and 1977, for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, by Verna Aardema, and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, by Margaret Musgrove. newschool.edu/red/dillon Below: Cover art created by Leo and Diane Dillon for James Baldwin’s Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son; illustrations for the popular children’s book W hy

28

Parsons re:D

Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna A ardema.


Levi Higgs Milennial Archivist

When he’s not examining old drawings or catalogs, Levi Higgs ’14 is sharing his passion for jewelry and the history of decorative arts through his Instagram account, which has attracted more than 60,000 followers. His posts aren’t about status so much as access. “I want to be able to offer people entry into a world they wouldn’t be able to see otherwise—to see these things close-up,” Higgs explains.

Higgs grew up in small-town Wyoming, where he was more

likely to see a rattlesnake than a Bulgari Serpenti bangle. He came to Parsons’ History of Design and Curatorial Studies master’s program after completing an art history degree. Higgs was fascinated by the ways jewelry can encapsulate a particular period and its culture. But he wanted to do more than just study the past; he wanted to revive it. Higgs got that opportunity when he was hired by David Webb. “I always wanted to use history in a contemporary way,” he says. “As an archivist at a heritage brand, that’s exactly what I get to do.”

Most of an archivist’s work is about preservation and

organization, but occasionally Higgs has discovered something totally new. “Once David Webb owned this triangular-shaped brooch that we really liked, and we started to do the research on it and looked at the drawings,” Higgs recalls. “We discovered it was owned by [the businesswoman, heiress, and socialite] Marjorie Merriweather Post.” The research connected the brooch to thousands of other objects in Post’s collection, once one of the most significant in the United States. “Sometimes we reveal history about pieces nobody knew before.” @levi_higgs Below: A ntique jewels featured on Higgs’ Instagram

profiles

(@levihiggs)

29

“I want to be able to offer people entry into a world they wouldn’t be able to see otherwise—to see these things close-up.”


Luma Jasim Artist as Witness

“My purpose as an artist is to bear witness to these horrors.” Iraqi-born multimedia artist Luma Jasim ’17 uses her work to

fellow. Jasim’s work has been shown in group and solo shows in New

express her nostalgia and comment on the fate of the country

York, Boise, and venues around the world.

she was forced to leave behind. Through painting, animation,

performance, and other art forms, she “explores the relationship

and tar, which she uses to symbolize her home. She combines

between violence, politics, gender, and emotional memory.” Three

them with photographs and prints to capture her experience. “The

years after the invasion of Iraq, she emigrated to Istanbul, Turkey.

living tragedy of Iraq, my home country, generates many of my

Later she moved to the United States and settled in Boise, Idaho.

artistic ideas. Car bombings killed and maimed large numbers of

simple, ordinary people in the markets, near schools, where workers

Already a practicing artist, Jasim came to Parsons for a

Jasim is drawn to nontraditional materials such as motor oil

master’s in fine art. There she pursued her explorations of trauma

gathered, on buses, and by police stations,” says Jasim. “My purpose

and narrative through a variety of media. After graduation, she

as an artist is to bear witness to these horrors.”

completed a residency at MASS MoCA and received the 2017 AAF/

lumajasim.com

Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts, presented by the American Austrian

30

Parsons re:D

Foundation. In 2019, she was selected as a Storyteller’s Institute

Jasim presenting her 2016 performance piece I Hate You Oil.


Steven Meisel Fashioner of Icons

If you’ve glanced at a fashion magazine in the past 30 years, you’ve likely seen a cover photograph by Steven Meisel. Known for his evocative concepts, impeccable taste, and exacting standards, Meisel has arguably shaped fashion imagery more than any other contemporary visual storyteller. His creativity extends across a range of platforms, from advertising campaigns for celebrated fashion brands to magazines including Vogue and Vogue Italia (for whom he shot every cover during editor Franca Sozzani’s tenure) to Madonna’s 1992 book, Sex. Peers and cultural arbiters including Harold Koda of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute have described him as one of the most influential, prolific, and provocative photographers in the industry.

Meisel came to Parsons in the 1970s to study fashion illustration.

After graduation, he drew for Halston and Women’s Wear Daily while teaching at Parsons. Meisel’s career as a photographer took off when he started shooting model friends for their portfolios, which led to a gig with Elite Management. Impressed by the quality of his work, magazine editors signed up the young photographer, and he hasn’t put down a camera since.

Meisel strikes a difficult-to-achieve balance between client needs

and a desire to interweave messages and even wit throughout his editorials. “My favorite editorials are the ones that allow me to say something,” Meisel told fashion magazine 032c. “It’s not because they are controversial that I like them, but because they say a little more than just a beautiful woman in a beautiful dress. I love that too, but to try to say something is also my goal.” newschool.edu/red/meisel Top: Portrait by Parsons Fashion Design alumna Susan Shacter, styled by A nna Sui Below left: Marc Jacobs S/S ‘19 campaign

profiles

Below right: Versace F/W ‘98–’99 campaign

31

“My favorite editorials are the ones that allow me to say something.”


re:D (regarding Design) 2019 EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Anne Adriance EDITORIAL BOARD: Dustin Bryant; A. Mark Gibbel; Jen Rhee, MA Media Studies ’13 PARSONS ADVISORY BOARD: Burak Cakmak; Anne Gaines, MFA Fine Arts ’00; Rhonda Garelick; Robert Kirkbride; Jane Pirone; Molly Rottman, MA Fashion Studies ’13; Rachel Schreiber; Joel Towers MANAGING EDITOR: Kyle Hansen EDITOR and LEAD WRITER: John Haffner Layden CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Lilit Markosian, Daniel

Penny, Jenny Swadosh LEAD DESIGNER: Carmen McLeod, AAS Graphic

Design ’15 ADDITIONAL DESIGN: Mariah Tarvainen PRODUCTION COORDINATORS: Steven Arnerich;

Sung Baik COPY EDITOR: Leora Harris PRODUCED BY: Marketing and Communication, The New School LETTERS AND SUBMISSIONS: re:D welcomes letters

and submissions. Include your year of graduation, degree completed, and major or program. Unsolicited materials will not be returned. CONTACT US/ADDRESS CHANGES: re:D, Parsons School

of Design, 79 Fifth Avenue, 17th floor, New York, NY 10003, red@newschool.edu Regarding Design, October 2019 Postmaster: Send address changes to Regarding Design (re:D), 79 Fifth Avenue, 17th floor, New York, NY 10003.

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Parsons re:D

CREDITS: Nina Chanel Abney (Legacy.); Courtesy of

Better Together The archival press release marking Parsons’ union with The New School On February 22, 1970, The New School for Social Research distributed a press release announcing the affiliation of Parsons School of Design with the university now known as The New School. At the time, Parsons had a student body of 650—a small number compared to The New School’s 16,000—and was experiencing financial hardship. Yet administrators saw the union as an opportunity to strengthen both institutions. “Studio disciplines alone are not enough in the training of tomorrow’s designers,” said Parsons President Francis A. Ruzicka. “[ The designer] must have an understanding of the social, economic, political, and other factors which affect everyday life.” Similarly, Dr. John R. Everret, then president of The New School, felt that Parsons “complements and broadens the flourishing New School program in the arts.” In the nearly fifty years since the publication of this release, Parsons and The New School have jointly developed a robustly interdisciplinary approach to learning that has paved the way for emerging fields of practice. Together they are committed to creating a more just, more beautiful, and better designed world.

Architectural Digest (Legacy.); Courtesy of Areaware (Creative C.); Courtesy of Armco Steel Corporation (re:WIND); Serge Balkin (Legacy.); Craig Barritt /Getty Images (News); Slava Blazer Photography (News); Ryan Blum-Krystal (Creative C.); Emily Adams Bode (News); Flora Chan and Abby Chen (News); Yuti Chang (Creative C.); Daniel Chou (News); Emily Chu (News); Leo and Diane Dillon (Profiles); Courtesy of Donna Karan New York (Legacy.); James Ewing (Cover); Bea Feitler (Legacy.); Ben Ferrari (News); Miguel FloresVianna (News); Camila Godoy (News); Courtesy of Google (Legacy.); Jonathan Grassi (Creative C.); Maria J. Hackett (News); Bob Handelman (Creative C.); Peter Hapak/Trunk Archive (Profiles); Courtesy of Harry Ransom Center (Legacy.); Marie Havens (Creative C.); Levi Higgs (Profiles); Courtesy of IBM (Profiles); Charlotte Ólöf Jónsdóttir (Creative C.); Clemens Kalischer (Creative C.); Sameer Khan (News); Courtesy of Richard Klein and Paul Rand Charitable Trust (estate of Paul Rand) (Profiles); Kyle Knodell (Profiles); Spencer Kohn (Creative C.) Courtesy of L+R (Profiles); Courtesy of Lantern Entertainment (Legacy.); Christopher Lawrence (Creative C.); John Haffner Layden (News); Yong Yi Lee, Yoav Menachem, and Amit Ran (Creative C.); David Lubarsky/The New Museum (Creative C.); Nick Machalaba/WWD (Profiles); Joseph Marcella (re:WIND); Lisa Marks (News); Matthew Mathews (Creative C.); Steven Ryan McGinley (Legacy.); Meisel (Profiles); Bobae Moon (Creative C.); Michael Moran (Creative C.); Bruce Nicholson (News); Courtesy of PETLab (Creative C.); Jacob Pritchard (Creative C.); Fabian Raphael Rastorfer (News); Sarah J. Rocco (News, Profiles, Legacy.); Martin Seck (Cover, Creative C., Designing D.); Pierre Schermann/WWD (Profiles); Susan Shacter (Profiles); Kim Shui (News); Michael Kirby Smith (Creative C.); Jerry Speier (News); Erinn Springer (News); Sarah Staudinger (News); Peter Stackpole (Legacy.); Eduardo Staszowski (Creative C.); Robert Tonner (Creative C.); Dana Trippe (News); Courtesy of Sara Little Turnbull Center for Design Institute (Profiles); The New School Archives and Special Collections (Creative C.); Jeroen van der Wielen (Designing D.) The New School does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, religious practices, mental or physical disability, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, or veteran or marital status. The New School is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution.


Modular Environmental Structural System Joseph Marcella

re:WIND Iconic work from Parsons’ archives (1970)

Product Design, BFA ’70 Developed in an era of space exploration and

with new materials and seeking ways to

growing ecological awareness, the Modular

connect with the natural environment.

Environmental Structural System (M.E.S.S.),

Today, as climate change heightens the need

by Joseph Marcella, unites organic forms and

for affordable migrant shelters, Marecella’s

geometry in a futuristic building typology.

design seems especially prescient.

In his design, users can configure three kinds of fiber-reinforced polyester panels into an infinite number of structures. The panels’ reflective surfaces make the M.E.S.S. seem to dissolve into its surroundings, embodying a subtle critique of humans’ impact on the planet.

At Parsons, Marcella made an impact in more ways than one. The design school’s participation in the first Earth Day (1970) would not have been possible if he had not helped recruit speakers to campus and convinced administrators to cancel classes so that students could participate in

Marcella, who graduated with honors from

teach-ins. Marcella also gained acclaim as a

Parsons’ Correlations Department (now

student for his design of a one-piece, foam-

known as Product Design) in 1970, created

injected stackable plastic chair that arguably

M.E.S.S. for Armco Steel Corporation’s annual

represents the precursor to the ubiquitous

student design program, which challenged

version in market to this day.

young designers to reimagine “concepts for tomorrow’s leisure.” According to his project notes, Marcella’s aim was to create a system for weatherproof and portable semipermanent housing. The result was a flexible design with a honeycomb structural core that reflects the era’s DIY impulse and desire to break from traditional building styles.

Marcella’s creative career embodies the spirit of making in a pre-computer era. In the fifty years since he graduated from Parsons, the designer has gone on to explore photography and work in diverse industries including construction, historical restoration, and farming.

At the time, designers were experimenting

ABOVE: Marcella photographed sitting inside a M.E.S.S. structure for a 1970 Armco press release. LEFT: A contact sheet from 1969 shows Marcella and fellow students constructing a M.E.S.S. structure indoors.


The New School 79 Fifth Avenue, 17th floor New York, NY 10003

Periodical Postage PAID

In keeping with this issue’s focus on interwoven histories, the cover layers photos of iconic Parsons and New School spaces— the 13th Street side of Parsons’ anchor building, the University Center, and a vintage image of The New School’s original auditorium— bringing them together into a rich, layered composition that echoes the university itself.

newschool.edu/parsons

Profile for The New School

re:D magazine 2019  

re:D magazine 2019  

Profile for newschool