PLEASE PASS THIS ON
Dear friends and fellow art lovers,
We will be hosting a party for Astria Suparak to celebrate the
tremendous outpouring of support the Syracuse arts community has
shown in recent weeks and to show our continuing support for Astria.
Today, Friday Sept. 28th, was Astria's last day. Although we may not
have been successful in changing the minds of Jeff Hoone and Syracuse
University, we did join together in an unprecedented manner to voice
that edgy contemporary art and the former Director of The Warehouse
Gallery are important to us. That deserves a celebration. Please
join us to honor what Astria Suparak has accomplished over her past
year in Syracuse and how we have all come together to support her on
WHAT: Party for Astria Suparak
WHERE: Delavan Art Gallery
WHEN: This Thursday, October 4 from 6-8 p.m.
See you there!
-Courtney Rile, Bill Delavan and Caroline Szozda of Delavan Art Gallery
Friday, September 28, 2007
PLEASE PASS THIS ON
Posted by Whats this? at 11:43 PM
Although I may be too late in writing this letter, I would like to show my support for this tremendous effort to keep Astria Suparak from being wrongly dismissed. While visiting Syracuse this past week, I was disgusted to learn about this entire mess. I met Astria in 2006, while helping her set up a traveling video show that she had curated and brought to Spark. It was our biggest SparkVideo event of the semester, and it met all of my high expectations. Not only did she show a diverse array of videos, but Astria engaged the audience in many fun and unique ways. It was obvious how much energy and effort she put into her work, and I came away from that experience thinking how great it was to see a curator so dedicated to stepping beyond the traditional boundaries of the curatorial role. I was delighted at the chance to see her in action. I feel sad for all those students who won't have that opportunity.
As a former Art Video major, I was thrilled to learn that Astria had become such a big part of the Syracuse Art Community. During my time at Syracuse it was obvious how much we needed more female perspectives in the art community, and more people willing to take risks to revolutionize our art program. It's a real shame that we're going to lose such an awesome voice, just so that these few decision-makers can remain rooted in oppressive traditions and the status quo. Have any of these decision-makers considered the consequences of this?
2006 graduate of Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts
Posted by Whats this? at 11:32 PM
I am shocked over the news of Astria Suparak's dismissal. The news were especially distressing in view of the growing credibility of The Warehouse Gallery at Syracuse University in international art circuits. Customarily, university art galleries are a quiet business, largely occluded from broader visibility because of the often disconnected scope of their mandates. I believe Astria is doing an excellent job at approximating the programming at The Warehouse Gallery to current debates in the contemporary worlds of art and culture. She took the necessary bold steps to attain the independent and characteristic voice for The Warehouse Gallery that are so necessary to establish the relevance of a cultural art space. Her work has only began; to interrupt it now at such an early stage might compromise the reputation of the space and rob The Warehouse Gallery audiences of everything that was yet to come.
Alex Villar, New York based artist
Posted by CNXY at 11:27 PM
It looks as if Friday, Sept. 28 will be superstar curator Astria Suparak’s last day at the Warehouse Gallery in Syracuse, NY. She was officially canned on Sept. 7 and given until the end of the month to vacate. The reason for her dismissal being given by Jeffrey Hoone, the executive director of the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers at Syracuse University, was due to a restructuring of the gallery’s leadership. Yeah, “restructuring” Astria right out the door. Hoone also says he’s unable to give further details since it’s all a very confidential matter.
Despite massive protests, including a several hundred citizen walk out Sept. 20 and many, many emails and letters written, which are chronicled on the Syracuse Loses Again blog, it appears that Hoone isn’t budging and Astria is abruptly out of a job. Despite Hoone’s extra-super-duper secret restructuring explanation, many feel Astria got the boot over the controversial nature of her latest gallery show, “COME ON: Desire Under the Female Gaze,” a program that explores the discrepancy between the acceptable male subjugation of the female form in art and the overwhelming lack of female perspectives on passive male sexuality.
The Syracuse Loses Again blog has also posted up a fascinating email exchange between Astria and Hoone that was provided by Tom Sherman, a professor of Art Video at SU (Art Video? Sounds like an awesome class…) In the emails, Hoone comes across as extremely apprehensive of the “Female Gaze” show and totally worried about a massive community backlash. Now, the community backlash is regarding his canning of Astria.
At the same time as the firing, the Syracuse Common Council has unanamously appointed Astria to the city’s Public Arts Commission. However, this is just a volunteer position and not a real job. Astria’s staying in Syracuse is dependent on whether or not she can find a similar job at the university or in the city.
I hope somebody does something in an official capacity, whether it’s staying at the Warehouse Gallery or at the university. I haven’t corresponded with Astria personally in a year or more, but she was always very gracious and nice after I covered some of her curated events at the New York Underground Film Festival. She deserves better than this.
Posted by CNXY at 12:56 PM
To Whom it May Concern
I would like to comment on the emails written by Jeffrey Hoone and Matthew Snyder. Lisa Jong-Soon Goodin has publicly released two emails from these men, though they were not sent to her. She is releasing these letters on behalf of Jeff Hoone, stating:
it's important to post this email because it shows that when some administrators objected to the exhibit,Jeff defended it...
What's going on here? When some administrators objected to the exhibit? Does Jeff Hoone feel that he has been abandoned by the administration and must implicate them in the Warehouse fiasco?
Well, he may have a point. The email from Mathew Snyder to Jeff Hoone is instructive because it implicates the Chancellor, her Cabinet and the office of Public Affairs in the Warehouse fiasco and also indicates just how out of touch they are from their community (young women now fill the classrooms at SU):
Late last week, members of the Chancellor's Cabinet and Public Affairs office raised questions about the exhibit....I understand that Tom Walsh, Eric Spina, Barry Wells, and Kevin Quinn have been discussing the issue at the Chancellor's request.
Why on earth would the chancellor ask a group of 4 men to "discuss" a show about female sexual desire....how many men would kill for this job!
Can you see them, four grown men sitting around discussing the sexuality of young women, discussing and also pronouncing on the depiction of female sexual desire? They recommended a disclaimer, warning of the content and pulled promotional materials from student packets.
The paternalism is stunning.
The Chancellor, her cabinet and Jeff Hoone are clearly out of touch with the community of students and faculty they serve. The evidence of this has been glaringly obvious from the beginning of this fiasco. For example: canceling the Yes Men, apparently unaware of the degree of faculty involvement and financial investment in this show; firing Astria Suparak, apparently unaware of the amount and depth of support she had generated from many communities in her first year in Syracuse.
Research, research, research. How did they get it so wrong? How did they come to be so distant from the community they serve? All they had to do was ask...
The degree to which the Chancellor and the men of the Chancellor's Cabinet and Public Affairs, are out of touch with their young female students is again underlined in Jeff's letter: I understand that there are plans to have counselors available at the Warehouse this Saturday in case students who view the exhibition may be so inclined to seek our their comfort.
This assumption that young women are too stupid to interpret long black ballons, sagging against a white wall is demeaning for women of all ages. Did any of the Chancellor's Cabinet actually see the show?
Lisa Soon-Jong Goodin released two letters. In the first letter Jeff Hoone defends the content and extols the virtue of Come On:Desire Under the Female Gaze. I would like to point out that, in this defense Hoone, is simply reiterating Suparak's contextualization of the show. In other communication Jeff Hoone disparages the show, finding the images offensive to sophisticated art lovers. How many opposing opinions does Jeff Hoone hold?
Astria Suparak's performance has been exemplary. The Chancellor, her Cabinet, the Office of Public Affairs, Human Resources and Jeffrey Hoone have all behaved so very badly.
To add insult to injury this ensconced group of adults is attempting to cover its gross failure to do any homework by insinuating that this young woman is guilty of some nefarious evil doing known as "personnell issues."
Astria Suparak is not permitted to know what she is charged with, and is therefore not allowed to defend herself. Doesn't this violate the Constitution of the United States?
I am so very ashamed of Syracuse University.
Posted by Whats this? at 12:07 AM
Dear Chancellor Cantor,
I am writing to add my voice to the outpouring of protest against the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers ’ (CMAC) plans to remove Astria Suparak from her post as Director of the University-affiliated Warehouse Gallery.
Like thousands of my generation, I left an economically-depressed Northern New York in the 1980’s to seek better job opportunities and adventure elsewhere. In the course of my life, I have lived throughout the United States , and presently live in Brooklyn , New York . I pass through Syracuse regularly and am aware of, and applaud, developments in the city that indicate visionary leadership, such as the opening of the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center and the renovation of Armory Square . While the city has taken important steps towards putting its infrastructure in place, it remains unclear whether Syracuse can attract and retain the young talent that will ultimately drive its growth.
This summer, I heard that Syracuse University had hired Ms. Suparak to direct a newly renovated warehouse gallery in the city. As an artist and former media art programmer, I knew of Ms. Suparak’s thoughtful, intelligent, and energetic work. I was not at all surprised to learn that in a short time she had successfully developed the gallery into a regional powerhouse with a growing reputation.
In my view, leadership of Ms. Suparak’s caliber is what Syracuse needs to attract artists and professionals to the Syracuse area. As a nationally respected curator of visual and media art, her hiring signaled to me that Syracuse University recognized the role an active and engaged contemporary arts community can play in urban redevelopment plans.
Thus, I was greatly concerned when I learned that Ms. Suparak was unceremoniously removed from her post at Warehouse Gallery. From the letters posted on the web, it appears that many people found inspiration and friendship at the Warehouse Gallery. That energy cannot be attributed to bricks and mortar, but rather is due to Ms. Suparak’s enormous talents. It’s a shame the city will lose her.
Syracuse University owes Ms. Suparak, her supporters, and the city of Syracuse a cogent and satisfactory explanation for this unpopular decision. Ms. Suparak is held in high esteem by her colleagues and constituencies, both locally and nationally, because of her outstanding professionalism and enthusiastic personal style. Thus, her abrupt removal, without explanation, appears arbitrary and capricious. Mr. Jeffrey Hoones, the Executive Director of CMAC, has posted a letter on www.syracuse-warehouse.blogspot.com that purports to justify his decision to replace Ms. Suparak. However, the letter’s inscrutable and empty doublespeak does little to assuage the genuine concerns expressed by the Syracuse and national art community.
In sum, the University has not demonstrated that Ms. Suparak is undeserving of her position as Director of the Warehouse Gallery, or that the Gallery would benefit from a change of direction. Indeed, it appears that Ms. Suparak’s tenure at the gallery has been a resounding success. Thus, it is my opinion that the University must reinstate Ms. Suparak, not only for the benefit of the Gallery, but also because such a move will contribute greatly to the growth and reinvigoration of the city.
Very Truly Yours,
Julie Zando-Dennis , Esq.
Posted by Whats this? at 12:02 AM
September 27, 2007
SU Art Galleries
Because of the actions of your supervisor and the poor leadership of CMAC, I am will not participate in this year’s faculty exhibition. I do not wish to be a part of an institution that does not value the judgment of the VPA faculty or its constituents.
Feel free to publish this letter in the catalog in lieu of an image of my work.
Department of Foundation
College of Visual and Performing Arts
Posted by Whats this? at 12:00 AM
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.