Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dara Greenwald

Dear Mr. Hoone and Chancellor Cantor,

I am writing to you in dismay at your decision to fire curator Astria

I first became acquainted with Astria Suparak in 1999 when I was
working at the Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of
Chicago and she was curating a video series at Pratt. I began a
professional relationship with her at that time and have continually
found her both a visionary and a pragmatist – a rare combination. Her

curation was thoughtful and challenging and her professional behavior
was just that, professional. She ordered and returned materials from
us in a timely manner over several years as well as made sure
contracts, invoices, etc. were all taken care of. All this is to say
that from her track record, I was shocked to hear of her inexplicable

Additionally, she later curated my own work in two of her traveling
programs. In that new relationship of artist and curator, I found her
exceptional. She always communicated with me and other artists about
where our work had screened and what feedback or press we received.
This is far more than I can say for many curators I have worked with.
Knowing that someone was so carefully presenting my work inspired me
to continue producing it.

A few years ago, I moved to Upstate New York and was thrilled to be
able to see Astria more frequently since I was closer to Montreal.
When she told me she was moving to Syracuse, I was a bit surprised
but was also excited to have her vision and work as part of the
Upstate and Central New York community. I could only guess that the
Warehouse was itself visionary and promising in its ability to
attract such a talent as Astria away from more major art centers like
Montreal and New York City.

I was extremely surprised that after such an intense recruiting
process, having her and her partner move their entire life, and after
several successful shows that have garnered attention beyond
Syracuse, she would be let go. How can the institution justify this
action? This, in conjunction with the cancellation of the Yes Men
show and just after a show about the Female Gaze, is beyond
disappointing. Just when I thought some new visions and dialogues
would be coming from Upstate, it looks from the outside that the
actions of the administration of Syracuse University paints a
regressive, anti-intellectual, anti-dialogical, pro-censorship
picture which should be antithetical to the role of an academic or
contemporary arts institution. Please re-consider your decision
regarding Astria Suparak and her curatorial works, as I and many
people I know want to be proud of the Upstate arts community, not
embarrassed and discouraged.

Dara Greenwald
Media Artist
Troy, NY

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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.