Monday, September 24, 2007

Kenneth White

Dear Chancellor Cantor:

I am writing to register my alarm at the news that Astria Suparak is removed from directorship of the Warehouse Gallery by CMAC Director Jeffrey Hoone without consultation of the Syracuse community. As a proud alum of Syracuse University I have watched with awe and excitement as Suparak galvanized the creative community of Syracuse and thoroughly fulfilled your mission of Scholarship in Action. Suparak's immense and internationally-renowned success prior to her appointment at the Warehouse and during her tenure there leaves me utterly dismayed by Hoone's decision.

Adding further grievance to Suparak's dismissal is the notion that it erupted from Hoone's anxiety over address of feminist aesthetics in Suparak's current work, COME ON: desire under the female gaze. It appears so, and with your approval. This signals a much more dangerous institutional culture at Syracuse University than I ever thought possible. I hope this is not the case.

However, neither you, nor Hoone, have provided acceptable justification for the termination of Suparak. "Restructuring" and "personnel changes" is Hoone's claim, endorsed by you, and echoed by VPA Dean Carole Brzozowski. Reports of Hoone's distress over the use of "feminist" in the exhibition's title, the occurrence of Suparak's termination just prior to the opening of COME ON, and no disclosure of the Warehouse's new structure, tenders Hoone's decision as blatant censorship and personal power consolidation. I am left to imagine that you are shunning your commitment to the Syracuse community, and tolerating Hoone's insecurity, for the lucrative financial endowments promised by Hoone and his connections.

I hope you will reassure your alumni that the delusion, misogyny, and abhorrent stupidity, that appears to inform Hoone and his censorship of Suparak are not acceptable at Syracuse University, and that the Soul of Syracuse is not for sale. There is still opportunity for you to heed the wishes of your community. Please exemplify the "interactive and collaborative nature" that in your Vision Statement: Scholarship in Action you believe is our "great strength." Please re-instate Suparak to directorship of the Warehouse Gallery and cease your toleration of Hoone's abuse of power. Suparak must be allowed to continue her vital contributions to the Syracuse community.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to your response.


Kenneth White
B.F.A. 2005
Syracuse University Scholar
Remembrance Scholar
VPA Scholar

VPA Dean Carole Brzozowski
Vice-Chancellor and Provost Eric Spina
Senior Vice President Thomas Walsh
CMAC Director Jeffrey Hoone

No comments:


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.