Joel Parsons






Not For Sale


About the Artist

Joel Parsons is an artist, curator, and teacher based in Memphis, TN where he is an Assistant Professor of Art, Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Director of Clough-Hanson Gallery at Rhodes College. His multidisciplinary art centers queer intimacy, and has been shown at Flyweight Projects in New York, NY; the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles, CA; Yale University’s Greene Gallery; Western Exhibitions in Chicago, IL; and the Yerba Buena Art Center Triennial in San Francisco, CA. He is the cofounder of Beige, an alternative gallery and performance space devoted to the work of LGBTQ+ artists. His queer country music band and performance art project, The Sissy Dicks, has released three albums and regularly plays venues in the Southeastern United States, including Goner Fest in Memphis, TN and the Spellcasters Maritime Ball in New Orleans, LA. He received a BA from Rhodes College, Phi Beta Kappa, and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he was awarded the John Quincy Adams Fellowship. His writing has been published in The Brooklyn Rail, Art Papers, and Art in America. He is a founding member of the ArtsMemphis Artist Advisory Council and serves on the Board of Directors of the UrbanArt Commission.

Artist Statement

I am not satisfied with the world I live in, so I have to make a new world, for myself and for the people I love and the people I want to love. I’m making a place for us between the actual and the ideal, estrangement and identification, alienation and seduction, failure and success - a place to perform ambivalences. I operate promiscuously, through unstable and ephemeral objects, queer country music, guerilla organizing, teaching, curating, writing, embarrassingly romantic gestures, gardening, dinner parties, and lots of drawing. In all of these modes of world-making, I extend myself, awkwardly but earnestly, sincerely but not without humor, into a place of vulnerability in the hope of finding new ways of knowing and being known, beholding and being held, loving and being loved.