The New School Archives Digital Collections

Radical Shifts: Reshaping the Interior at Parsons (1955-1985) oral history project ➔ Audio interview with Charles Burleigh

Digital Audio

Related people/organizations

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Design Archives Parsons the New School for Design (publisher)
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Design Archives Parsons the New School for Design (producer)
Parsons School of Design. Environmental and Interior Design Department (subject)
Joanna Merwood-Salisbury (interviewer)
Charles K. Burleigh (interviewee)


September 13 2010


Interviewed by Joanna Merwood-Salisbury at Parsons, Chuck Burleigh discusses coming to Parsons directly after high school in 1974, describing the thrill of coming to live and study in New York City as a young man. He describes the studios, the structure of the first year Environmental Design program (some of his classes, he comments, were a little "out there"), and recalls his courses and instructors, including Lou Goodman, Hector Leonardi, and James McGuire, as well as Allen Tate, who headed the department. Classmates mentioned include Joe d’Urso and Jamie Drake. Burleigh describes his Parsons education as learning to design "form making at any scale," and comments upon the modernist aesthetic that held sway. He remarks upon the atmosphere of casual acceptance of gay students and faculty, and a sense of support for choices that fell outside of an idea of mainstream American life in the 1970s. Burleigh goes on to describe his post-Parsons professional career and its relationship to his Parsons education.





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