Tuesday, September 18, 2007

David Clayton

Dear Chancellor Cantor,

I am writing in support of Astria Suparak and frankly I am shocked by the series of events that have begun to unfold within CMAC. First, the sudden cancellation of the Yes Men of the exhibition by CMAC’s Executive Director, Jeff Hoone seemingly followed by news that Astria Suparak is being unilaterally forced out of her position as Director of the Warehouse Gallery. Like many other community members, I am greatly upset by these events, which invoke a feeling of censorship.

Astria Suparak is a friend and someone I have the utmost respect for both as a curator and as a person. Under Ms. Suparak’s leadership the Warehouse Gallery has set a high standard for contemporary art galleries in any city, but in Syracuse the Warehouse Gallery represents a beacon of hope for young artists in an otherwise mediocre art scene. I will not digress into the details of Ms. Suparak’s outstanding track record at the Warehouse Gallery. As you have heard from many others in support of Ms. Suparak, I can say that firmly agree with all of their words.

As a recent alumnus of the Syracuse University MFA, I am greatly concerned by the current direction of CMAC under the leadership of Mr. Hoone. As I am no longing beholden to Syracuse University, I have many questions regarding the internal decision-making of CMAC. Specifically, who at Syracuse University is CMAC and its Executive Director, Mr. Hoone accountable to and were these parties complicit in this decision? Furthermore, I believe that the leadership of CMAC warrants change more so than that the Warehouse Gallery.

When I converse with potential students thinking attending Syracuse University, I want to tell them that Syracuse University is a progressive university, open to diverse ideas. I feel though that the honest answer would be a place of censorship and intolerance.


David Clayton
MFA, Syracuse University 2007

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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.