Monday, September 17, 2007

Colin Todd

Sep 16, 2007 11:25 AM

To whom it may concern,

It has been brought to my attention that there have been some
administrative upheavals occurring at the Warehouse Gallery. One of
these, I was alarmed to see, was the possible termination of Astria
Suparak as the Gallery Director. Aside from whatever aesthetic tastes
the institution of Syracuse University has, I feel that this is a
horrible blunder for the Administration to do away with such an
energetic and intelligent gallery director that cares for building a
foundation for a community of art to exist in Syracuse.

Considering that the Warehouse Gallery has gained national recognition
within it's first year and has shown the most progressive and
intellectually challenging shows in Central New York, I do not
understand the sudden shift of support for Astria. She is a very well
connected gallery director who has been able to bring in a multitude
of well-known artists into the Syracuse art community. This has
allowed students and community members alike to join in a learning
experience from a variety of influential contemporary artists and
curators. Marisa Olson of the (who co-curated the Network
Nature Show), Juliet Jacobson, Shih Chieh Huang, Takeshi Murata, Lisa
M. Robinson: just to name a few. The Warehouse Gallery also, in its
first year, has the largest attendance during the TH3 opening nights,
a sure sign of the interest by the students and community.

When I heard the YES Men were coming to Syracuse, I could hardly
believe it. I have been looking forward to the show and the chance to
talk with this very progressive artist group for a long time. I was
disheartened to hear that they were being canceled in the programing
for the gallery. There could have been much to learn and gather
insight from if they were ALLOWED to come.

Personally I have experienced a great deal of care and energy from
Astria concerning my development as an artist that works with the
community. She has somehow managed to find time in her amazingly busy
schedule to help me and other students out one on one, advising on
artist concepts, how to work with a community and group of artists,
how to better prepare to exhibit one's work and she has supplied ample
advise as a curator on how to prepare my portfolio for review. She has
also been very supportive of my work as well as other students across
the board. I feel that I would be losing one of Syracuse Universities
greatest assets for my education.

I see it as an injustice to the artistic community of Syracuse and the
Students of Syracuse University for Astria to leave the Warehouse
Gallery. Not only would the gallery suffer a loss of energy,
excitement, and intellectually stimulating array of Astria's curated
shows, but the community of Syracuse as a whole would suffer the loss
of a strong advocate and influence of progressive art. Astria is a
wonderful source for outside artists and curators to be brought in to
Syracuse. This gives the practicing artists in the area a chance to be
challenged and break out of the incestuous spiral that a closed of
city suffers from.

I challenge the people who are in places of power, who can actually do
something to keep Astria here, to step up and listen to all the good
this curator has done for the community of art in Syracuse. Do not
stamp out the momentum this community has experienced in the last year
toward a better environment of art, community, and education. It would
be a great loss to moral and the rhythm that artists and students need
to maintain a good creative-learning environment.


Colin Todd
Graduate Student/Adjunct Professor
Dept. Photography-Transmedia VPA
Syracuse University.

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Syracuse has lost one its greatest assets. Astria Suparak, Inaugural Director of The Warehouse Gallery of Syracuse University, was removed from her position as of Sept. 30th, 2007, despite widespread support from community members, students, faculty, and the international art community. This decision was made unilaterally by Jeffrey Hoone, Executive Director of the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC).

At the time of Suparak's dismissal, Hoone also canceled her forthcoming exhibitions, including "Keep It Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men," due to open in November 2007.