Monday, September 17, 2007

Jeremy Bailey

Dear Mr Hoone,

Several alarming events have recently come to my attention that have
caused me considerable concern. I was recently informed that a dear
friend of mine Astria Suparak is in danger of losing her position as
director of the warehouse gallery and that an extremely significant
exhibition at the gallery has been canceled.

It is with great conviction that I have to let you and others who are
in a position to manage such matters know that you are making a grave
error in judgment.

As former director of Spark Contemporary Art Space and an active
member of the Syracuse art community for 3 years it was my pleasure to
introduce Astria to the city as a guest curator in 2006. I was honored
to host her because I knew that her profile exceeded the capabilities
of our small student run gallery. And yet, as I knew then and I know
now, Astria is a very strong supporter of local community and believes
in bringing disparate geographies and social groups together, not
tearing them apart. She is the type of person that inspires everyone
around her to make great things happen. In essence, she is exactly the
type of person that Syracuse so desperately needs.

For these reasons it was my pleasure to introduce Astria to the
Warehouse gallery search committee, and it was my delight to discover
she would act in the capacity of director.

Since that time I have left the city to be a practicing artist in
Toronto, but I continue to go out of my way to return to the warehouse
gallery when I visit Syracuse and when I travel anywhere near the city
limits. Furthermore it has been an absolute pleasure and sometimes
shock to hear from curators and artists here in Toronto and on trips
to Buffalo, New York City, Philadelphia and beyond about "How hot
Syracuse is right now". You have to understand the significance of
these words. You must know that Syracuse hasn't been hot or
significant in any way since David Ross was curator at the Everson.
And believe it or not, you are currently in the presence of another
David Ross, Astria Suparak is the type of Curator that you are going
to kill yourself for not having cherished.

Case in point, the canceled exhibition in question. The Yes Men are
one of the most relevant group of American artists living today. A
quick look at the exhibition histories of major national and
international museums will turn up their name frequently (I first
discovered them at MASS MoCA). Indeed, I spoke recently with Claire
Schneider, curator at the Albright Knox in buffalo where I am
currently exhibiting. She told me that she had recently been asked to
make a presentation at this year's CAA on the topic of Collectives and
Collaboration in contemporary art. She spoke of a distinct interest
internationally in this type of art making and that she was very
excited to research and present the topics and strategies these
artists are working with. I don't need to tell you The Yes Men were
one of the first such groups that came up in our discussion.

You are about to cancel the most significant show in Syracuse history
since Nam June Paik had his retrospective at the Everson.

I urge you to reverse whatever decisions you have made regarding both Astria and her programming choices. Indeed, I'd like to encourage you take this as an opportunity to increase funding, promotion and attention for the Warehouse gallery and to honor the excellent work
Astria has done in only 12 short months as director.

Ask yourselves how many other members of the Sryacuse community have done as much, ask yourselves whether you can afford to lose even one of them.

I trust you know the correct answer to these questions.

Please call me if there is anything I can do to further convince you of Astria's or the Yes Men's considerable merits, there are many more, 416 895 ----.

sincerest regards,

Jeremy Bailey
MFA, Syracuse University, 2006

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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.