Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Roger Beebe

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Roger Beebe, and I'm a filmmaker and Associate Professor of
Film and Media Studies at the University of Florida. Early next
month, I'll be bringing a program of my short films to Syracuse, and
this show is happening thanks to the connections to the local art
scene that Astria Suparak provided me. In fact, Syracuse had only
really come onto my radar screen as a possible stop on my two-month
East Coast tour because of Astria's presence there. Astria has been a
significant figure in the experimental film scene for years now, and
her presence in Syracuse (after years of work as a NY- and then
Montreal-based itinerant programmer) was of note for that entirely
community. Given my sense of the contributions she was making to
Syracuse and to the Warehouse Gallery, it was a shock to hear this
week that her job at the Gallery may now be in jeopardy. I obviously
don't have a sense of the specific situation at the Gallery that
produced this situation, but I can assure you that from the outside,
firing Astria (and subsequently presumably losing her from your
community) will be the final chapter in what has, again from the
outside, seemed to be something of a renaissance in the contemporary
art scene in Syracuse. I can only hope that you'll revisit this
impending decision in the light not just of internal concerns, but
also with an awareness of what this means for those of us in the
broader international community of filmmakers and programmers who
value Astria's work.

Roger Beebe

Associate Professor
Film and Media Studies
English Department
University of Florida

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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.