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Amir Parsa

Associate Provost for Interdisciplinary and Integrative Lear; Visiting Associate Professor


A pioneering multilingual writer, poet and translator, a cutting-edge cultural designer, and an acclaimed and innovative educator, Amir Parsa is a pluri- and neo-disciplinary scholar, artist and provocateur, searching for new ways to understand, represent, and operate in the world.

An uncategorizable body of work, his literary oeuvre—written directly in English, French, Farsi, Spanish, and various hybrids—constitutes a radical polyphonic enterprise that puts into question national, cultural and aesthetic attachments while fashioning new genres, forms, discursive endeavors and species of artifacts. These provocative works include Kobolierrot, Feu L’encre/Fable, Drive-by Cannibalism in the Baroque Tradition, Erre, and L’opéra minora, a 440-page multilingual work that is in the MoMA Library Artists’ Books collection and in the Rare Books Collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. All his books employ various registers of textuality, fuse discourses to fashion new ones, and explore possibilities unique to each language and to literature as a whole. His writings in both English and French have been anthologized, and he has contributed to a number of print and online publications, including Fiction International, Textpiece, Guernica, Armenian Poetry Project and a mash-up issue of Madhatters’ Review and Bunk Magazine. His translations include Bruno Durocher-Kaminski’s And They Were Writing Their History, and the first two books of Nadia Tueni, which appeared under the title The Blond Texts & The Age of Embers. Two books are being reissued in 2015 by UpSet Press—Drive-by Cannibalism in the Baroque Tradition and Tractatüus Philosophiká-Poeticüus, a theory of artistic creation that also reads like a labyrinthine story. Simultaneously in 2015, he launched, with Le Chaise (Yes, Le), the “Clandies” (more formally classified as FoCD—Folios of the Clandestine Diffusions), full-blown works that nevertheless are most poignantly characterized by one particular property, their clandestine diffusions. More “Clandies” are slated for limited dissemination in 2016 and beyond.

For over ten years, Parsa has created and launched innovative programs, curricula, events, models of educational interaction and unique learning experiences in museums in New York City, across the U.S., and in many other countries. His social and educational engagements include teaching, cultural and programmatic design, and consulting at a number of community organizations, a host of learning environments, and prominent New York institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has worked with a range of audiences including underserved children and youth, people with disabilities, English language learners as well as seasoned museum-goers, scholars, artists, and intellectuals. In his years at The Museum of Modern Art, he conceptualized and implemented projects emphasizing social and community engagement, and created work linking art and design education to literacy, health and social change, including MoMA’s Wider Angles and Double Exposures. He directed the landmark MoMA Alzheimer’s Project—which had great critical and popular success and has been implemented in more than 100 museums across the world—and co-authored Meet Me: Making Art Accessible to People with Dementia (MoMA, 2009). In June 2015, he delivered the 7th annual Samuell Kress Lecture in Museum Education at the Frick Collection with a talk entitled, Avant-Garde Museum Education (This Too Shall Be a manifesto).

His curatorial interjections, conceptual pieces, artistic interventions, and critical educational praxis have taken place in a host of public spaces, organizations, galleries, universities and environments. He created the Rooftop Roars & Riverside Revolutions at NoMAA in uptown Manhattan, conceived and curated the first edition of the ongoing PinG (Poets in the Galleries) series at the Queens Museum, and conceived and curates the RiDE (Risk/Dare/Experiment) episodes at Pratt, a unique cultural/educational endeavor where individual episodes and events are proposed and coordinated by Pratt faculty. Overall, his work has been read and debated in lecture halls and museums, in streets and on rooftops, in broad daylight and in dark underground dives, and at various festivals and events in different parts of the globe.

Parsa was born in Tehran, attended French International schools, Princeton and Columbia, and currently lives in New York with a slew of literary, artistic and educational projects in the works. A former Chairperson of the Art and Design Education Department and Acting Associate Dean, Parsa is currently an Associate Professor and Director of Academic Transdisciplinary Initiatives in the Office of the Provost.