Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jim Finn

Jeffrey Hoone
Executive Director, CMAC

Dear Mr. Hoone,

I am writing a letter in support of Astria Suparak. I have known her
as a committed, innovative curator since I met her in 2001. As an
artist whose work she has curated, I can tell you that she is
committed to experimental and difficult work while also being open to
an absurd and humorous sensibility. That is rare. She is a tireless
promoter, and her framing of work and writing about it is intelligent
and accessible. Just as an artist has a recognizable theme and style,
so her curated shows have an identifiable style that is hers. Because
of the quality of her shows, her professionalism and creativity,
artists have great respect for her while festivals and diverse
international venues are proud to fit her programs into their

What is disconcerting to me is that it seems as if there is a problem
with her political programming. Coming off a show about images of
female desire that was critical of the traditional male perspective
and right before a show subtitled "Infiltrating Capitalism", it looks
as though she has been fired for curating controversial, political
content. Her dismissal, after all, is not happening in a vacuum. Six
years after 9/11 and in the middle of multiple counterinsurgency wars,
academia and the art world play an important role in questioning the
direction of our nation's politics. Not surprisingly, every month
cable and radio talk shows relate stories of leftists running amok in
the universities. The list of professors in the US and Europe fired or
denied tenure for political reasons this year alone includes Norman
Finkelstein, Ward Churchill, Albert Scharenberg, and Andrej Holm. The
art world is not immune to these pressures.

I hope that you will reconsider your decision.

Yours respectfully,

Jim Finn

Nancy Cantor, Chancellor
Eric Spina, Vice Chancellor/Provost
Carole Brzozowski, Dean of CVPA

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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.