Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Joe Masterleo - Comment on Post-Standard Article

[Reposted from here]

Mr. Kirst:

Seems like the local and university communities are getting a belly full of what they asked for in Nancy Cantor and Daryl Gross, big-city slickers who came in extolling the small town virtues of "community", yet who have a bent for approaching sensitive matters with autocratic hatchets behind their backs while implementing a peculiar form of mathematics - adding by subtracting. To wit, the AD's recent against-the-grain decision to nix the SU swimming program in favor of women's collegiate hockey, and the chancellor's latest axing, the dismissal of Astria Suparak. These out-of-town administrators are proving to be "sharp" all right - guillotine sharp when it comes to assaying and embodying community consensus in their administrative decision making.

If the AD and chancellor are keeping their collective fingers on the pulse of "community", it's with "thumbs down", and on parts of our local anatomy that have yet to be identified.

Joe Masterleo,
Jamesville, NY

Post-Standard Article -- Sean Kirst

Dismissal of Gallery Curator Sparks Boycott

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


A few years ago, not long after Nancy Cantor became chancellor of Syracuse University, she offered a wish about the future of the city.

At the time, the hottest question involving SU and the greater community was whether to retain Paul Pasqualoni as football coach. Cantor, who would eventually support athletic director Daryl Gross in his decision to fire Pasqualoni, dreamed of a day when the intensity of civic interest about the future of downtown might match the civic interest in the future of a coach.

The real issue, Cantor said, came down to identity: People see a piece of themselves in their football team, which is the same way she hoped they would someday feel about their central city.

Three years later, the Pasqualoni debate has been replaced with a football furor over the status of Greg Robinson, the new coach. But Cantor is also dealing with a faculty rebellion triggered by last month's announcement of the dismissal of Astria Suparak as curator and director of the Warehouse Gallery on West Fayette Street.

In a sense, that dispute is intertwined with Cantor's wish.

The latest expression of faculty anger is a boycott of an exhibition at the Shaffer Arts Building that traditionally showcases the artwork of SU professors and instructors. That show was canceled because the boycott is "100 percent effective," according to a statement written by Joanna Spitzner, an SU instructor and a leader in efforts to retain Suparak.

In her statement, Spitzner described how the canceled show will be replaced this week by an alternative exhibit. Holly Greenberg - an associate professor of printmaking - will be among several dozen faculty artists displaying their work in a show that begins Thursday at the Spark Contemporary Art Space on East Fayette Street.

Tuesday, Greenberg said she decided to join the boycott because of what happened to Suparak. But she said the deeper issue involves simmering faculty discontent going back to the creation of SU's Coalition of Museums and Art Centers. Under the direction of Jeffrey Hoone, CMAC oversees university gallery space.

"When it was formed, nobody from the Department of Art or the College of Visual and Performing Arts was consulted about the best way of uniting our art organizations here," Greenberg said. "Teaching art is our life. Being artists is our life. I think a lot of faculty were put off," she said, by the way CMAC was created.

The Suparak dismissal intensified that feeling, Greenberg said. "Until CMAC is dissolved," she said, "I would hope the faculty would continue to boycott (university) events."

The firing of Suparak has captured the attention of city officials, community artists and the operators of several downtown galleries. Considering the history of the arts downtown, what is most interesting - and most hopeful - is that anyone beyond campus even cares.

The Warehouse Gallery is the public face of Cantor's ambitious efforts to link the campus and the city. The chancellor was the driving force behind the rehabilitation of the old Dunk & Bright furniture warehouse at West Fayette and West streets. The building was converted into classroom space, mainly for SU's school of architecture.

Suparak was in charge of the gallery, until her firing infuriated many at SU.

"The dismissal of Suparak, a well-respected curator who has worked with many SU faculty members, is a great loss to this community," Spitzner wrote in her statement. "This action reflects the lack of dialogue the administration of CMAC has with faculty, students and the arts community - the constituents CMAC serves."

Spitzner and many others maintain the firing smacked of censorship, since a recent Suparak show included images of homosexuality and genitalia. Hoone and other university officials adamantly deny those charges, and say it was linked to personnel matters they cannot discuss.

As for the continuing existence of CMAC, Kevin Quinn, an SU vice president for public affairs, said the university will continue to "support CMAC and (we) believe it is the right idea, but we have had conversations in the past and will continue to have conversations to ensure that CMAC is well-aligned and fully engages our faculty, campus and community."

For those of us without the expertise to offer even peanut gallery opinions about Suparak and her job performance, the most intriguing piece of the debate involves what's quietly happened around the Warehouse. If you include The Redhouse arts center, the Delavan Art Gallery and the Lipe Art Park, an authentic arts district is quietly growing within that old industrial neighborhood.

That evolving personality stands to be strengthened even more if WCNY, a public television station, moves into a proposed $17.5 million headquarters on West Fayette.

The noisy public conflict over Suparak and her future is, in a sense, a manifestation of Cantor's wish: Many around Syracuse are bringing the same passion to a debate about downtown and the arts that we more often see around this town about touchdowns and head coaches.

You just hope, at a moment of such opportunity, that feuding players on both teams can find their way back to the game.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Renee Mulcare

To lose Astria Suparak as the curator of the Warehouse Gallery is devastating. She has been such a strong presence in the art community, and I feel, along with many others, that she has been wrongfully dismissed. This is unfortunate to say the least, for Astria's contributions here have been phenomenal, bringing about a stronger community for the arts as well as connecting the university to the city through her tenure at the Warehouse.

It is frustrating to know that SU and the city of Syracuse are losing a vital asset to building a strong art community and working towards Nancy Cantor's vision towards Scholarship in Action. The way that I have always understood Cantor's idea of Scholarship in Action, was that being "in action" one would be exploring differences, learning new things, and experiencing a wide variety of opportunities to expand our knowledge. This allowance of Astria to be dismissed, however severely diminishes the strong idea of Scholarship in Action. It seems to be a selective Scholarship in Action, almost as though Astria wasn't bringing the right kind of diversity to Syracuse, which doesn't seem to make any sense.

The bigger problem that I see with the whole situation is the lack in reasoning and explanation for Astria's dismissal. Jeff Hoone has provided nothing to the community as to why he felt that he should release Suparak from her position. His lack in an argument to back up his decision has yet to surface, and the fact that he has declined to shed light on the situation makes me question his status and position in the Syracuse art community. Frankly, I don't want him to be here. I've begun to lose trust already in his decisions and what he will do in the future. Why is it so hard to provide a legitimate reason? This lack of one makes me think that perhaps there isn't one. That should be a red flag warning. There would be greater issues at hand if this were the case. I do not know his reason, but I am still very much in doubt about him in general. To make such a drastic change as this deserves an explanation. Without an adequate explanation, Hoone is doing more than removing Astria. He has put himself in a situation in which he is losing credibility in his judgments. As someone that is in his position, I would think that putting yourself in a place where people are questioning your ability to do your job is not a place where you want to be.

This severe lack in information and explanation from the school and Hoone's position is disturbing. It makes me think that there is something bigger going on that is being left out, and it's extraordinarily frustrating. That is a horrible place to be in when you are that high up in the chain. It's a stupid move. There is no other way to say it. It's poorly thought, without reason, without anything to give credibility to the decision made regarding Astria. It's sad. It's really sad that this is what is happening and that it is like a horrible essay written in which they are trying to prove a point with nothing to back themselves up. I don't trust that, I won't trust that until something is explained.

Renee Mulcare
Film, College of Visual and Performing Arts
Syracuse University 2010


Jeff Hoone has replaced the Yes Men exhibition with Gary Schneider’s Genetic Self-Portrait, which opens on Nov. 15. Calls for a boycott of the exhibition, and Hoone's "new direction" for The Warehouse Gallery have already begun.

Genetic Self-Portrait
was completely funded from its inception in 1996 by Howard Stein’s Joy of Giving Something (JGS), Inc. Light Work, another arts organization Hoone controls, published the catalogue for this exhibition in 1999 (financed by Howard Stein). The entire exhibition - all 61 photographic prints - are owned by Stein.

In other words, this decade-old photography exhibition is replacing an original and much anticipated show by internationally-acclaimed anti-corporate activists, The Yes Men.

Meanwhile, the faculty of the School of Art and Design (Departments of Foundation, Art, and Design) and The Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University have boycotted the annual faculty exhibition at SUArt Galleries to protest the Suparak's dismissal.

A press release states: "The decision to remove Suparak from her position was made by the Executive Director of Coalition of Museums and Art Centers at Syracuse University. SUArt Galleries and The Warehouse Gallery are both members of CMAC. The dismissal of Suparak, a well-respected curator who has worked with many SU faculty members, is a great loss to this community. This action reflects the lack of dialog the administration of CMAC has with faculty, students, and the arts community - the constituents CMAC serves. While faculty respect the work of the individual spaces in this coalition, we do not support the current direction of CMAC."

Working together, the faculty and staff of these departments and the directors of Spark Contemporary Art Space have organized their own exhibition. It is hoped that this will bring together the many people involved in the local and university art communities. The one-night only "Ice Out: Art, Design, & Transmedia Faculty Exhibition, 2007" opens on THURSDAY, OCT. 25th, 7-9pm at Spark Contemporary Art Space, 1005 E. Fayette St., Syracuse, NY. Free admission + refreshments. Open to all.

Syracuse University is considering a new position for Suparak: Curator-in-Residence in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The details are still being worked out. If you support this idea, let the University know.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Jan Pottie

Let's Review

Last spring a faculty member revealed that Jeff Hoone was "giving Astria Suparak a hard time." This was noted but not addressed because Astria remained so positive about the Warehouse Gallery. The shows looked great, were very well attended and were receiving excellent press.

Astria Suparak's curatorial reputation was solidly established before coming to Syracuse. Her appointment as Director of the Warehouse Gallery made many people in contemporary art circles aware of Syracuse University for the first time.

To her credit Astria did not share Jeff Hoone's dissatisfaction. In retrospect it is clear that Hoone's campaign to have her dismissed had begun.

Let's review the harassment of Astria Suparak by Jeffrey Hoone. His blustering, erratic, contradictory and often ranting emails posted on this site (
Sherman: Hoone & Suparak) provide stark evidence of his bullying tactics.

Hoone's harassment of Suparak was oddly accepted by Human Resources as the groundwork necessary for a dismissal for "personnel issues", a designation meant to protect the reputations of both the complainants (Hoone, Cantor, Spina, Walsh, Wells, Quinn, Ware et al) as well as the dismissed employee, in this case the diminutive but vibrant Asian American curator, Astria Suparak.

Seem a little lopsided?

Astria forged on, valiantly putting in long hours to meet Hoone's increasingly contradictory demands and impossible deadlines.

We in the University and broader Syracuse community were unaware of the obvious (and sanctioned?) harassment.

Suparak's openings were thoughtful, flawless and also just plain fun.

When Come On opened Syracuse audiences had had a year to adjust to the Suparak curatorial style and were looking forward to another year of Suparak's compelling art installation approach: her own hand visible, her unwavering insistence that curation is art.

The 2007-2008 exhibition schedule looked great! Come On: Desire Under the Female Gaze was a huge and welcome success for the Warehouse Gallery, a success that would have grown exponentially with the scheduled show, The Yes Men.

For unfathomable reasons, Astria Suparak was suddenly dismissed in the middle of her successful show Come On: Desire Under the Female Gaze.

The show's success must have come as a surprise (and disappointment?) to Jeffrey Hoone and the Chancellor's cabinet. Furthermore the show was successful in spite of attempts of several grown men (with Cantor's approval) to censor it.

Several people have insisted that there has been no censorship, as does this letter from Chancellor Cantor's new spokesperson, Ann Clarke:

"I can also assure you that they both [Cantor and Spina], as individuals and representatives of the University, maintain impeccable standards, that in no way include condoning censorship of any kind, subtle or overt." (Oct. 7,2007)

This posturing has become tiresome.

Let's review the ways in which Astria Suparak was censored by Jeff Hoone, the Chancellor and the Chancellors Cabinet, including Eric Spina, as evident by an email exchange publicly released by Jeffrey Hoone (to implicate the Chancellor and members of her cabinet as protest mounted over Suparak's firing?)

1. Jeffrey Hoone's insistence that the words "feminist" and/or "feminism" could not appear in the title or materials.

2. The addition of a disclaimer to limit audience: "Tom Walsh, Eric Spina, Barry Wells, and Kevin Quinn have been discussing the issue at the Chancellor's request. The exhibit is to continue as planned, with the addition of a sign outside the gallery space indicating that the content is for mature audiences”
Lisa Jong-Soon Goodlin -- Jeffrey Hoone -- Matthew Snyder

3. The elimination of promotional materials for Come On from freshmen packets: "The marketing materials for the exhibit that were to be placed in the ReadySet (new student welcome materials) will not be included after all"
Lisa Jong-Soon Goodlin -- Jeffrey Hoone -- Matthew Snyder

4. Some members of the chancellor's cabinet actually went to the gallery to "review" the material (oh to be a fly on the wall as these men perused art made by young women about sexual desire and did not find themselves!)

5. Finally and most obvious is that they resorted to the ultimate act of censorship when they removed Astria Suparak from her position as Director and Curator of the Warehouse Gallery in the middle of Come On, and canceled all her scheduled exhibitions.

It is beyond naive for Hoone, Chancellor Cantor, the members of her cabinet and her new spokeswoman, Ann Clarke, to continue to insist there has been no censorship. Dismissal is the ultimate censorship.

Please stop!

This was a poorly informed decision made by people clearly out of touch with faculty and students, and the educational mission of the University.

Had anyone at any time consulted with a single member of the Department of Art, Department of Foundation or Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University they would have learned that members of these faculties had invested in the Warehouse Gallery 2007-2008 exhibitions, and particularly in the Yes Men show. Faculty had both written The Yes Men show into curricula and supported it financially.

Students at Syracuse University would rightly fail for handing in conclusions based on such shoddy research.

Let's review the capacity of this administration to insulate themselves from the educational mission of the University:

On or around September 13th, at a Senate meeting, Professor Tom Sherman approached Chancellor Cantor about the cancellation of the Yes Men Show. Sherman assumed that Hoone had acted alone and that the Chancellor was unaware of Suparak's firing and the exhibition cancellation.

To Professor Sherman's dismay and surprise Chancellor Cantor's response was to reassure him that all the proper steps were being taken through Human Resources to secure the dismissal Astria Suparak !

How do you spell out of touch? C-A-N-T-O-R?

Professor Sherman informed the Chancellor of faculty involvement and financial investment in the Yes Men Show. This was clearly news to her. Unfortunately she seemed unable to digest the implications of this "new" information.

Nancy Cantor remained unable and unwilling to digest the implications throughout the next several weeks, responding to the many intelligent, considered and sincere emails with an automatic email response:

"I have asked Jeffrey Hoone, executive director of the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers, to more fully respond to your concerns as I trust his leadership and this is a departmental personnel issue."

Nancy Cantor

Chancellor Cantor has little idea of how this automatic response has diminished her in the eyes of her many admirers in the arts community both within the University and the city.

This poor administrative decision has alerted faculties, professors, students, and alumni of the extent to which the administration has insulated itself from members of its own constituency and the educational mission of the University.

A poor administrative decision compounded by the failure to address it.

For example, University Scholars, and dedicated alumni, Ken White and Rebekah Scotland have written a thoughtful letter outlining their concerns and reiterating their love for Syracuse University. Chancellor Cantor has yet to respond.
Rebekah Scotland and Kenneth White.

Instead the Chancellor and Provost persist with the same kind of insular strategy and have simply replaced Jeff Hoone with new spokesperson, Ann Clarke.

Through emails Ann Clarke has insisted that in order to move forward, discussion must be removed from a public forum, indicating the University is prepared to offer Suparak some kind of contract.

This was welcome news for Suparak's many many supporters. The letters stopped as supporters waited for this wrong to be righted, for the harm to be undone.

Unfortunately in private forums the administration, through Ann Clarke, has continued to impugn the reputation of Astria Suparak.

For example, Clarke states that although she hasn't personally read the file, Eric Spina has assured her there was cause for Suparak's dismissal.

Perhaps the cause for dismissal was based on all those sleepless nights while Astria altered course yet again to appease Jeffrey Hoone's newest impossible demand and ASAP deadline.

The only thing that is really well documented is the well documented harassment of Astria Suparak by Jeffrey Hoone in his many 'ASAP' emails.

This under-handed, gossipy approach taken by the administration through their new spokesperson, Ann Clarke, is simply an extension of the on-going harassment of Astria Suparak begun by Jeffrey Hoone.

It makes everybody feel bad and it makes the University look bad.

Many people have worked very hard to keep Astria Suparak, a highly regarded, well-known curator in Syracuse because she makes the University and the city better.

So finally let's review why discussions regarding Astria Suparak will remain in a public forum:

The culture of censorship and secrecy at Syracuse University has to end.

There has been enough back-room dealing by Jeff Hoone, the Chancellor's cabinet and Human Resources regarding Astria Suparak.

Members of the administration and/or their spokesperson are unable to resist attempts to further impugn, through insinuation and gossip, the reputation of this dynamic Asian American woman.

It will remain in a public forum because many of us are intellectually invested in our alma mater and are concerned about an administration that operates in secret, slyly working behind scenes, twisting and misusing the legitimate policies of Human Resources, policies that are meant to protect reputations and not harm them.

It will remain in a public forum because the reputation of the University has been harmed as a direct result of the harm it has caused Astria Suparak, through her firing and on-going attempts to smear her reputation.

Let's not let this be misunderstood. Astria Suparak stands alone negotiating her future in the face of this very lop-sided committee that includes Cantor, Hoone, Spina, Wells, Walsh, Quinn, Eleanor Ware and Ann Clarke.

The recent paradoxical offer of a supposed comparable position (curator at large without a space or any budget) is an obvious bad faith attempt to silence supporters.

Astria Suparak should be encouraged and funded to proceed with the exhibitions she had planned for the 2007-2008 season, beginning with The Yes Men Show. This show exceeded all criteria of her mandate at the Warehouse Gallery, promising to broaden and invigorate the knowledge of faculty and students through direct exposure to contemporary art practice.

Astria Suparak was providing opportunities for direct exposure to contemporary art that have not been available outside major cities. This is why faculty had written her exhibitions into curricula and provided financial support.

Please have the courage to undo this wrong and allow Astria Suparak to proceed with her exhibition schedule.

Jan Pottie,
Alumna, Syracuse University
Phi Kappa Phi

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bard College -- Faculty of the Department of Film and Electronic Arts

To Jeffrey Hoone, Nancy Cantor, Eric Spina and Carole Brzozowski,

We write this letter in protest of the perplexing dismissal of Astria Suparak from the Warehouse Gallery.

Most of us have known and worked with Astria for many years. She is quite simply one of the most important and influential programmers of experimental film and video of her generation. Her numerous projects as an independent curator brought new audiences to experimental film and video, forged new links between the worlds of film, gallery art, and music, and promoted the work of young artists. Since arriving at Syracuse, she has brought fresh and exciting exhibitions to the Warehouse Gallery, and consequently pushed the profile and reputation of this fledgling institution far beyond the local level.

Given that the Warehouse Gallery and the Syracuse arts community as a whole have benefited so greatly from Astria’s work there, her sudden dismissal from her position seems inexplicable. Her firing would be a great loss to New York state film and art, and we strongly urge you to reconsider this shortsighted decision.


Faculty of the Department of Film and Electronic Arts
Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

Peggy Ahwesh
Gerard Dapena
Jacqueline Goss
Ed Halter
Peter Hutton
Les Leveque
John Pruitt
Marie Regan
Kelly Reichardt
Keith Sanborn

Caspar Stracke

Dear Mr Hoone, Ladies / Sirs

I am certainly aware of the fact that by now, eight days after Ms. Suparak's last official day in the Warehouse Gallery and endless chain of emails and discussions you certainly will have stopped reading any further email regarding this case.

Nonetheless, I feel obligated to send this mail. Here is a distant voice from South Korea where Astria Suparak's curatorial work is known. And I hope this geological distance underlines the dimension which this case has now taken. I appeal to Mr Hoone to re-consider his decision, after realizing what a strong international support stands behind Ms Suparak, an extraordinary curator and important creative force for Syracuse University and the region.


Prof. Caspar Stracke
Department of Design, office: B/D 6-302
P.O. Box 18, Ulsan, 680-749, Korea

Friday, October 5, 2007

Jon Rubin

To Whom it May Concern:

If you don't want a gallery director: with never-ending energy; who
has a unique and well informed vision; with a wide grasp of
contemporary art; with a large and growing following of artists,
critics, museums and curators; with the ability to make your
gallery's programming popular within the local community; who is an
advocate of artists and viewers alike; who can put your gallery on
the international map; who is an articulate and thoughtful writer;
who is an intellectual and creative peer; then you've made the right
decision in letting Astria Suparak go.


Jon Rubin
Artist / Professor
Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Faculty of the Department of Transmedia

To: Nancy Cantor, Chancellor
Eric Spina, Vice-Chancellor
Carole Brzozowski, Dean of CVPA

In light of the dismissal of Astria Suparak from the Warehouse Gallery on September 28, 2007, the faculty of the Department of Transmedia will not participate in this year’s Faculty Exhibition in the SU Art Gallery in the Shaffer Art Building. The loss of Ms. Suparak, a dynamic, successful curator of contemporary art at the Warehouse, effectively diminishes our dialog with our colleagues and students and with the broader community. We have all lost as a result of the decision to dismiss Astria Suparak.

Further, the formation of and administrative direction of CMAC, to the exclusion of other options, have left media and visual art students and faculty with very limited local options for the exhibition of their work. A suitably staffed and funded gallery space (or spaces) needs to be put in place to serve our pedagogical mission in the media and visual arts. This space or spaces must permit the independent actions of professional curators, under the guidance of an advisory board representative of faculty, students and broader community, to deliver contemporary art of substance to our media and visual arts community, a constituency willing to embrace the development and celebration of a creative practice which is representative of the diversity of all its constituents.


The Faculty of the Department of Transmedia

Rebekah Scotland and Kenneth White

Dear Chancellor Cantor:

We write with sincere concern for our alma mater. The circumstances surrounding the removal of Astria Suparak from directorship of the Warehouse Gallery raise grave questions against the ability of Syracuse University to offer a welcome environment to "interactive and collaborative" learning, which you call our "great strength." As students, we were thrilled by the interdisciplinary opportunities opened by your Creative Campus initiatives. We watched Syracuse University blossom under your guidance, and we followed your lead. Through the monthly Spark Video Program, Thursday Screeners media forum and visiting artist series, Diversity in the Arts exhibitions, the Sparkettes Video Collective for women, and the Westcott Community Center Video Program, among others, we strove to answer the Syracuse community's hunger for cultural enrichment. You showed us that direct, on-the-ground participation can affect positive difference on the local, national, and international levels. We recognized the importance of this mission and service, we devoted ourselves to it, and for our efforts we were honored as Syracuse University Scholars. We were, and remain, deeply passionate about the cultural excellence of Syracuse University, and as such we feel obligated to speak.

Suparak's termination is antithetical to the institution we devoted ourselves to, and that honored us. We have both independently written letters to you registering our grievance with CMAC Director Jeffrey Hoone's actions against Suparak and the arts community of Syracuse University. We write again now, together, to re-state our alarm, in hope that the events of the last month may be rectified, and to offer our assistance in preservation of the generative communication we fully know is found at Syracuse University.

The success and positive contribution of COME ON is without doubt. Throughout her tenure as Warehouse Gallery Director, Suparak has advanced the Syracuse arts community to previously unattained levels of relevance and admiration, and her value to this community is well documented. Suparak is an asset necessary to the realization of Scholarship in Action.

No justification for Suparak's removal has been provided by Hoone beyond "personnel changes" and "management restructuring." In July 2007, he aggressively ridiculed Suparak's curatorial judgment and demanded justification of COME ON: Desire Under the Female Gaze, its artists and works, calling the exhibition "weak and seriously flawed." Hoone forbid use of "feminist" in the exhibition title. In July, Hoone's first option of discussion with Suparak was "canceling or postponing the exhibition." Then, in his 22 August 2007 letter to SU Director of Communications and Media Relations Matthew Snyder, Hoone completely contradicts his statements of July and defends Suparak through regurgitation of Suparak's own defense demanded by himself. Two weeks after Hoone's written 'defense' of Suparak, he fired her.

Hoone's July 2007 correspondence with Suparak presents more than just difference in aesthetics. He reveals a hostile work environment loathe to non-heterosexual male perspectives. Hoone is not only ignorant of feminist history and aesthetics specifically, he is unwelcome to the generative communication on which Syracuse University is founded. We find Hoone's actions totally unacceptable.

Furthermore, Hoone chose to reveal that you convened four male university administrators (Tom Walsh, Eric Spina, Barry Wells, and Kevin Quinn) to "discuss the issue" of the exhibition's timing. No women, nor members of the greater Syracuse arts community, participated in this review of female sexuality whose ruling was censorship of Suparak's exhibition: approved advertisements were pulled from ReadySet new student welcome materials and Hoone's harassment of Suparak continued to her unexplained termination. We are left to imagine that Hoone's letter of 22 August, implicating you and your administration in the censorship of Suparak, was an attempt at a strategic defense in preparation for his imminent termination of Suparak. Chancellor Cantor, do you still "trust his [Hoone's] leadership?"

The evidence of this situation leaves us with many questions.

Why did Hoone voice his concerns about COME ON so late in the exhibition's planning? Why did he completely contradict his criticism two days before the exhibition's opening, then fire Suparak two weeks later? Why did Hoone cancel the Yes Men exhibition (Suparak states that she "asked him specifically" about this action)? What are the 'restructuring' plans for the Warehouse Gallery that Hoone claims are the reason for Suparak's dismissal? Why were no members of hiring committee that nominated Suparak consulted on her termination? Why were no members of the Syracuse University arts community consulted on her termination?

We ask you to please re-instate Suparak to directorship of the Warehouse Gallery. We believe there is opportunity for Syracuse University and the Syracuse arts community to benefit from the attention this issue continues to garner. Please exemplify the great character we devoted ourselves to, love so much, and know to reside in Syracuse University.

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

Sincerely and respectfully,

Rebekah Scotland
B.F.A. 2006
University Scholar

Kenneth White
B.F.A. 2005
University Scholar

Vice President and Provost Eric Spina
VPA Dean Carole Brozowski

Marisa Arezzi

October 1, 2007

I am writing in support of Astria Suparak, her commitment to and work at the SU Warehouse Gallery, and her overall contributions appropriately recognized by the greater Syracuse community. I was very sorry to learn of her dismissal and am distraught by the predictable, scripted explanation delivered by Jeffrey Hoone. I have read the events surrounding her termination and find it more surprising that Jeff Hoone hired a woman of her background and stature in the first place. It is out of character.

How unfortunate that Jeff's appointment to his current position went so quietly under the radar. This is a job that was created for and handed to him at a 'private reception'. One would think that such an important post would demand a national search. The lack of accountability has been present, by design, from the beginning. Comments made by Nancy Cantor regarding his "leadership" show ignorance of his career and personality.

In the matter of Astria Suparak, Jeffrey Hoone is nothing more than a mouthpiece.

In the US our human rights and constitutional freedoms have been steadily eroded in the name of fear, money and power. The dismissal of Astria Suparak is part of that erosion. We will probably never know who made the decision to dismiss her, when it was made, or for what reason.

I hope the tremendous outcry of support offers some thanks to Astria for sharing her vision and extraordinary talents.

Marisa Arezzi
Metropolitan New York

The Faculty of The Department of Art

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

In light of recent administrative and staffing decisions that have taken place within the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers (CMAC), we as the Department of Art voice our concern as to the vision and direction of this University sponsored initiative. The firing of Astria Suparak and the cancellation of the Yes Men exhibition without wider consultation or regard to the effects of these actions upon the faculty, students or greater Syracuse community, point to larger problems within SU galleries as an institution. These recent decisions made by CMAC are consistent with its short but problematic history: acting without transparency to the exclusion of the constituents it proposes to serve.

Having grown increasingly frustrated by being marginalized in all curatorial, exhibition, and staffing decisions in the galleries and museums maintained by Syracuse University we find that the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers does not serve one of its primary missions. That is to support and work in concert with the educational, creative, and scholarly pursuits of faculty and students. Like faculty in many other departments, many of us developed a relationship with CMAC through working with Astria Suparak to tie curricula and pedagogy to the challenging and innovative curatorial programming brought to the Warehouse Gallery. Through opaque decision making processes that impact the whole of our campus and local communities the separation between CMAC and the greater community has grown even further. Such decisions cannot be made alone without also communicating an indifference to those also affected by the decisions and thoughtlessness towards other community members.

In protest to the method in which CMAC has made decisions at the exclusion of faculty, students, and community members, the Department of Art will not participate in the up-coming Faculty Exhibition at the SU Art Galleries. We insist that the administration reevaluate the termination of Astria Suparak and consider how Astria could play a greater role in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, evaluate how CMAC serves the university community from the perspective of its constituents, and develop an advisory board of faculty, students, and community members to whom CMAC accountable.

The Faculty of The Department of Art

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Brett Dougherty

September 24, 2007

Mr. Hoone,

I don't know the entire circumstance surrounding Ms.
Suparak and yourself, but I do know that you would be
committing a grave and unintelligent mistake if you
were to fire her from her position as curator from the
Warehouse Gallery. I have never encountered anything
but amazing artistic and personal payoff from all of
my time around Astria and she has been an immensely
rewarding person to talk with and have around.

Please realize that if this is a personal vendetta
against Suparak, you should leave that unprofessional
jargon to the side and look at everything she has
given the arts community here at Syracuse University
and the central New York area.

-Brett Dougherty

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


To whom it may concern:

It is not often that I am compelled to write letters of support for
people and situations that I am not intimately involved with. I am
an artist with a developing media practice that is looking for
opportunities to nurture and focus my work further. Naturally, this
has made me consider applying to graduate schools not just within my
own country but in the United States. Essentially, I am looking for
an open, nurturing yet rigorous and challenging environment to expand
my practice. Syracuse as a community is known for fostering new and
distinct talent and bridging it with artists whose work that is
renowned the world over. Syracuse University is able to attract an
eminent faculty that teach with the same passion that they put into
their own work. This is quite a rare situation, and it seems as if
the surging arts community in Syracuse is at a high point.
Personally, the Transmedia program at SU seems like a perfect fit.
From what I can tell, it is an innovative program with a healthy
balance of international students that are nurtured by a renowned
faculty and buttressed by a wealth of curators, galleries and open

This perception has been undermined by the overtly autocratic removal
of Astria Suparak. News of her dismissal has traveled fast and far,
and its effect has resonated beyond the immediate Syracuse arts
community. The negative publicity surrounding this action and the
subsequent publication of the emails between Suparak and Jeffery
Hoone are eye opening to say the least. I am not presuming that I
know what it takes to run a space like the Warehouse, nor would i
dare say that I know anything about the political machinations
necessary to support potentially offensive material. I can only
assume that it must be difficult and time consuming to balance the
needs of various special interests in order to support challenging
work within the framework of a large American university. However, I
do know the adverse effect of a bureaucratic infrastructure that is
completely at odds with the artistic community that it claims to
support. To make matters worse, the email chain exposes Mr. Hoone's
critical blind-spots, his lack of interest in young and developing
practices and worst of all a thinly disguised and wholly destructive
ego that refuses to let one of SU's brightest people share her gift
for innovative curation.

This shameless display of ego, the tyrannical nature of this disposal
of a great asset and the insular protection of Mr. Hoone by the
undemocratic structure of the CMAC have made me seriously reconsider
if it is worth submitting any application to your school.

respectfully yours,


Vancouver, Canada

Geri Wittig

Dear Chancellor Cantor,

My name is Geri Wittig and I am an artist with C5, a new media
collective that has exhibited internationally, including the venues
such as the London ICA, Ars Electronica, and the Whitney Biennial. I
am writing as a professional artist who would like to advocate for the
reinstatement of Astria Suparak to her position as Director of the
Warehouse Gallery. I met Astria this past July, when I visited the
Warehouse Gallery to see the exhibition, Networked Nature, which
included work by C5. During my visit, over the course of 24 hours, I
realized quickly what an asset Astria is to the Syracuse art
community. Firstly the press packet I received from her regarding the
exhibition was one of the most comprehensive and professional press
packages that I've ever received as an exhibiting artist. Over the
course of the evening in discussion with Astria, I came to know an
extremely knowledgeable and professional curator, who was working
diligently to create art events and exhibitions that are on par with
what is being exhibited in centers for cultural production, such as
NYC and Berlin. In fact one of the artists in Networked Nature, Shih
Chieh Huang, was included in the Venice Biennale this summer – the
exhibitions Astria presented were of a high caliber that was in
alignment with the most professional levels of the fine art arena. In
visiting with a variety of art professionals in Syracuse, such as city
officials with the public art program and Anthony Malavenda of the
Redhouse Gallery, I saw and admired a strong desire and will to
enhance and further develop the cultural landscape of the city of
Syracuse. In all of these discussions, it was apparent that Astria was
a key player in those efforts. I believe letting her go from the
Warehouse Gallery really is a huge loss to and setback for those

Geri Wittig
C5 Corporation

Monday, October 1, 2007

Stephen Vitiello

September 26, 2007

To whom it may concern: it's come to my attention through numerous
channels that Astria Suparak is being laid off from her position as
gallery director. I've known Astria through professional channels
for close to 15 years. I was incredibly happy to hear that she was
serving the university through this important position. Astria has
been a unique and important curator as long as I've known her. Her
exhibitions are exciting, challenging and well researched. I
absolutely believe she is someone who is very conscious of the
cutting edge of contemporary art but also the right person to make
this work accessible and comprehensive. While I'm not aware of the
politics that have gone on behind the scene I can only say that her
being "let go" is disappointment to the entire field and it must be
a blow to your local community in Syracuse. As an artist included in
the Networked Nature exhibition I was treated professionally and
with care. If there is any reference I can offer or additional
letter of support, please let me know.


Stephen Vitiello,
Media Artist
Assistant Professor of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University
Archivist, The Kitchen, NYC

Clayton to Hoone

Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 12:26:32 -0700 (PDT)
From:"David Clayton"
Subject: Two Questions
To:"Jeff Hoone"


I have two questions regarding the changes at the Warehouse Gallery.

First, I understand that you chaired the rather large, 9 member of search committee that hired Astria Suparak as Director of the Warehouse Gallery. Were any of the other committee members given prior notice or consulted in the decision of Ms. Suparak's termination? Will this search committee be reconvened to choose the new Director of the Warehouse Gallery?

Second, who will became the Interim Director of the Warehouse Gallery in Ms. Suparak's absence? I have heard that SUArt Galleries will take charge of the programming and eventually absorb the Warehouse Gallery. Is the Warehouse Gallery becoming another venue for the University's lackluster art collection?

Remaining Hopeful,

David Clayton
Syracuse University MFA, 2007


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.