Liyen Chen, The Song of Bugs – Chapter Butterfly (2019), oil on canvas, 24 x 30”

Parsons School of Design at The New School is pleased to announce the Parsons Fine Arts 2019 MFA Thesis Exhibition Beneath Them was Forever curated by Kathleen Forde, and showcasing work by Arpi Adamyan, Natalia Almonte, Tunie Lauren Betesh, Alonso Cartú, Liyen Chen, Michael Grasso, Nicole Economides, Liliana Farber, Utsa Hazarika, Sarra Margaret Hochberg, Julia Jueun Jo, Elyse Faith Dahlum Johnson, Nadine Käser Cenoz, Geraldine Kang, Laramie Marshall, Mylo Mu, Alymamah Rashed, Alex Dolores Salerno, Laina Michelle Weiss, and Leonard Yang.

As a thesis exhibition, Beneath Them Was Forever presents artists at a moment of transformation at a radical scale. The artists on view are launching from their recent pasts as students and are now looking directly outward into their future working lives. It is a moment of trust— trust in progress, in the continuing evolution and power of their art and vision. In ways, both deliberate and unconscious, their work distills many common threads: the risk of exploration and experimentation; the hybridity of practice that dissolves standard boundaries of genre and the inquiry into the desire to empathize, with each other and in broader, more global terms. For the artists in this exhibition, having survived transformative cycles of their practice, this moment, as contrived as it may seem, is an opportunity to argue for the power of art-making to manifest the past and to construct the future.

Kathleen Forde is Artistic Director at Large for Borusan Contemporary, a collection-based space for media arts exhibitions, commissions, and public programming in Istanbul. Primarily based in New York, she also works as an independent curator with various institutions both nationally and abroad. From 2005-12 Forde was the Curator of Time-Based Visual Arts at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, NY. Prior to EMPAC, she served as Curatorial Director for Live Arts and New Media at Goethe Institute in Berlin and Munich, and Assistant Curator for Media Arts at SFMOMA.

Parsons Fine Arts MFA is a dynamic two-year, cross-disciplinary program committed to expanding the formal, intellectual and conceptual dimensions of emerging artists’ work.

For more information, visit or contact the MFA Program Director, Simone Douglas at

Beneath Them Was Forever will take place at the Westbeth Gallery (55 Bethune St, NY) April 26–May 4, 2019, with an opening reception on April 25th, 6–9 pm.