Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lisa Jong-Soon Goodlin

To whom it may concern:

As a member of the search committee that hired Warehouse Gallery director Astria Suparak and as someone with a long association with Light Work, I have more than a passing interest in the events that have taken place at the Warehouse Gallery and concern for the parties involved.

There is no question that Astria is a valuable asset to this community, evidenced in part by the incredible outpouring of support seen on this blog. In my opinion, she has done a wonderful job at the gallery, and it is a mistake to let her go.

However, I am writing this letter for another reason.

While this blog for the most part serves as a testimony to Astria¹s talent, vision, and commitment to both the university and the city of Syracuse, it also has become a place for people to speculate on the reasons for her dismissal. This speculation is understandable; the constraints Jeff Hoone is under regarding the discussion of confidential matters prohibits him from directly addressing, much less defending, his decision, and leaves people with a maddening lack of information.

Writers have suggested that Astria¹s being Asian-American is a possible factor in her dismissal. And I can say without any doubt that if indeed Jeff made this decision alone, ethnicity played no role.

Jeff has been at Light Work for twenty-seven years. In that time, and largely through Jeff¹s vision and leadership, the organization has grown, thrived, and become internationally respected for its championing of artists of color. Light Work is not one of those organizations that merely talks about culturally diverse programming. Light Work, through Jeff¹s guidance and leadership, genuinely serves all artists, not just the white male ones, and not just during Black, Asian, or Latino History Month.

So, lament or protest Jeff¹s dismissal of Astria, as I have to Jeff personally, but please refrain from veiled, or not so veiled, accusations of racism.


Lisa Jong-Soon Goodlin, Chair
Light Work Board of Directors
Syracuse, NY


Anonymous said...

There are only two directors of CMAC who are of color. He's removing one!

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that Jeff is married to a black women!


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.