Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Takeshi Murata

I'm writing because I was just made aware of the news about Astria Suparak and the Warehouse Gallery.

Astria invited me to participate in Embracing Winter by screening one of my videos. I happily accepted because I had known Astria's past work over the years, and knew her direction guaranteed a great show. My girlfriend and I drove four hours out to Syracuse, and when we arrived, I was proud to see that the other artist's work in the show was amazing and everything was all installed with great consideration.

It was quickly clear that Astria's work had already made an impact. I spoke in Tom Sherman's class that afternoon, and later that night, many of his students trudged through 4 feet of snow to attend the opening at the Warehouse Gallery. I remember clearly from my own experience in college that getting student to attend a school related function after a day of classes is no easy feat. And there were also many other people who came out, including faculty, local residents, and local press. It was a dynamic mix of people, and a rewarding opening. Then the following day, Astria organized a lecture by artist Rudy Shepherd, which was also hugely thought provoking and well attended.

After returning home, one of the things that stayed with me from the whole experience was Astria's great enthusiasm for Syracuse, the school, the gallery, and most importantly the community. It was inspiring. She had given us a thick folder of everything going on in town and around the gallery, and also a personal tour pointing out all the important and historic places in Syracuse. Her talking about Syracuse make it feel like a place full of possibilities.

Well, I'll stop there and let you get on to the next letter. Needless to say it would be a huge mistake to let her go. But if you do, at least it will give all of us non-Syracuse people the hope of her heading up a program near us.


Takeshi Murata

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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.