From: Tom Sherman
Sent: Tue 9/18/2007 8:34 AM
To: Jeffrey Joseph Hoone
Subject: RE: Yes Men
The Yes Men have contacted me to inform me they are not interested in
working with you or anyone else asked or contracted to replace Astria
Suparak at the Warehouse Gallery. Their interest in doing this show
was based on their relationship with Astria. I cannot convince them
otherwise, nor do I wish to. Please refrain from using my name when
trying to remount Astria's show. She set this show up and did the
work. It is Astria Suparak's show of the Yes Men's work that has been
Professor Tom Sherman
Department of Transmedia
102 Shaffer Art Building
Syracuse, New York 13244-1210
From: Jeffrey Joseph Hoone
Sent: Mon 9/17/2007 5:28 PM
To: Tom Sherman
Subject: Yes Men
I contacted the Yes Men today and they didn't think they could get
back on track with the exhibition citing their preference for Astria's
engagement in the project, budget concerns and that exhibitions are
outside of their core mission. Since you have worked with them in the
past would you be willing to contact them to see if we can try and
make the exhibition possible.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Posted by Whats this? at 11:42 PM
Executive Director, CMAC
Dear Mr. Hoone,
I am writing a letter in support of Astria Suparak. I have known her
as a committed, innovative curator since I met her in 2001. As an
artist whose work she has curated, I can tell you that she is
committed to experimental and difficult work while also being open to
an absurd and humorous sensibility. That is rare. She is a tireless
promoter, and her framing of work and writing about it is intelligent
and accessible. Just as an artist has a recognizable theme and style,
so her curated shows have an identifiable style that is hers. Because
of the quality of her shows, her professionalism and creativity,
artists have great respect for her while festivals and diverse
international venues are proud to fit her programs into their
What is disconcerting to me is that it seems as if there is a problem
with her political programming. Coming off a show about images of
female desire that was critical of the traditional male perspective
and right before a show subtitled "Infiltrating Capitalism", it looks
as though she has been fired for curating controversial, political
content. Her dismissal, after all, is not happening in a vacuum. Six
years after 9/11 and in the middle of multiple counterinsurgency wars,
academia and the art world play an important role in questioning the
direction of our nation's politics. Not surprisingly, every month
cable and radio talk shows relate stories of leftists running amok in
the universities. The list of professors in the US and Europe fired or
denied tenure for political reasons this year alone includes Norman
Finkelstein, Ward Churchill, Albert Scharenberg, and Andrej Holm. The
art world is not immune to these pressures.
I hope that you will reconsider your decision.
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor
Eric Spina, Vice Chancellor/Provost
Carole Brzozowski, Dean of CVPA
Posted by Whats this? at 11:18 PM
Dear Chancellor Cantor,
I am both saddened and dismayed by the news that Warehouse Director Astria Suparak has been fired. This personally illustrates a growing trend to censor the arts in Syracuse. It is my pleasure to offer support both on a personal and professional level to this young, dynamic curator.
Astria is a thoughtful, talented curator whose dedication and passion have enabled her to achieve not only outstanding success with the exhibitions she has presented but equal success as a mentor and partner within the arts community. Over the past year I have been inspired by her intense devotion to her curatorial work, as well as her active participation in the promotion of the mission to bridge the gap between the university and the city. On a professional level I have had the pleasure of meeting with Astria to discuss possible collaborations between the Redhouse, and the Warehouse.
Suparak’s most admirable quality is that she is not afraid to push her exhibitions in a direction that challenge the viewer, drawing them in to contemplate large questions of our relationship to nature, to sexuality and to the world around us. The depth and complexity of these exhibitions does not become, as it does in so much of the work I see, a mere pastiche, and it is very disappointing that her vision has been so abruptly severed.
I extend my sincere condolences to the university and the Syracuse arts community on this loss.
Redhouse/Joan Lukas Rothenberg Gallery
Posted by Whats this? at 10:57 PM
Dear Jeffrey Hoone, Nancy Cantor, Eric Spina and Carole Brzozowski,
This weekend I found my inbox flooded with emails that all contained the same distressing news, that Astria Suparak was being forced out of her position as Director of The Warehouse Gallery. When I first heard that Astria was hired for the job I was thrilled. Here was an opportunity for one of our most intrepid young curators, with newfound institutional support, to pursue her most ambitious projects yet. More importantly, however, she would be able to bring contemporary art to audiences in Syracuse that might not otherwise have a chance to see it.
Also worth considering is the fact that Astria's exhibitions at The Warehouse Gallery have caught the attention of countless artists, critics, and curators internationally. It therefore seems to be a grave mistake to dismiss her just as the space, and, in turn, the University, are receiving rightly deserved notice for the work being done there.
Posted by Whats this? at 10:52 PM
[automatic response to these emails]
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me about changes at the Warehouse Gallery. 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. I have copied him on this e-mail to facilitate his quick response to you.
Posted by Whats this? at 9:32 PM
[automatic response to these emails]
A little more than two years ago the Warehouse Gallery was just an idea.
The guiding principle in the inception of the Gallery was the goal of
positioning the arts as an important component of community engagement
by Syracuse University. As such, the Gallery has become an important
venue for the exhibition of contemporary art. We have also defined its
mission so that it can engage the community in a dialogue regarding the
role the arts can play in illuminating the critical issues of our life
There have been many individuals and groups, both at the University and
in the community, who have played crucial roles in moving the programs
at the Warehouse Gallery forward. As director of the Coalition of
Museums and Art Centers, my role in the process has included helping to
design and conceptualize the physical space of the Gallery, developing
the mission and vision for exhibitions and programs, developing a
windows exhibition space at the Gallery to display installations
commissioned by Central New York artists, and hiring the staff to run
It is my responsibility to develop the right mix of organizational
structure, skills, talent, teamwork, and substance in order to achieve
those goals. I have made a decision to move forward toward achieving
those goals with a new structure and a revised and broader position for
leadership of the Warehouse Gallery.
This process started with conversations with Ms.Suparak six months ago
and included discussions with other CMAC personnel. These conversations
have also involved staff of Human Resources within a process that
involves confidential personnel issues and issues related to overall
long-term goals and objectives. The final decision was mine.
I am writing to assure you that we recognize the importance of the
Warehouse Gallery and our commitment to strong and inspired leadership
for it. The programs at the Warehouse Gallery will continue to move
forward to achieve its envisioned potential.
I want to specifically clear up some uncertainty this change may be
having for some about upcoming exhibitions at the Gallery, and
specifically the exhibition, "Keeping it Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism
with the Yes Men," planned for November 13, 2007 - January 26, 2008. I
believe it is important to honor the commitment to the artists and to
the faculty who have pledged support to this exhibition. I have
contacted the artists involved in developing the exhibition and will be
working with the staff at the Warehouse Gallery and will, with advice
from faculty who have made programming plans based on the exhibition,
develop strategies to allow us to continue the exhibition as planned.
In any event I assure you that we will continue with a full year of
programming in the Gallery as we move forward to continue to build the
Gallery as an important venue for the community and for contemporary art
Coalition of Museum and Art Centers
Posted by Whats this? at 9:29 PM
Dear Jeffrey Hoone,
I hope an "outsider" may be permitted to comment on the reported
removal of Astria Suparak as Director of the Warehouse Gallery.
Ms. Suparak had established an international reputation as a
well-informed and adventurous curator of experimental film and video
programs before I had the pleasure of meeting her in Montréal, which
was her home for several years before she moved to Syracuse. Once I
met her, I discovered that her expertise extended well beyond
experimental film and video to include all the visual and moving image
arts. In addition, I found her to be open-minded, knowledgeable, and
enthusiastic about the social and aesthetic significance of a wide
range works in the visual arts. Her appointment to the directorship of
the Warehouse Gallery seemed to me appropriate and well-deserved.
I have not been able to attend the exhibitions she has organized at
the Warehouse Gallery, but thanks to the Internet, I have been able to
keep track of her very impressive accomplishments during the short
time she has been Director of the gallery. She has brought to Syracuse
some extremely interesting and ground-breaking exhibitions. Rather
than having her contract terminated, in my view, she should be
rewarded with a long-term renewal of her contract in recognition of
her contributions to the cultural life of the university in particular
and the city in general.
I urge, therefore, that Ms. Suparak be allowed-indeed, encouraged-to
continue developing the Warehouse Gallery's enlightened engagement
with past and current developments in the visual arts.
William C. Wees, Emeritus Professor , McGill University
CANADIAN JOURNAL OF FILM STUDIES
REVUE CANADIENNE D'ÉTUDES CINÉMATOGRAPHIQUES
853 Sherbrooke St. West--ArtsW225
Montreal, QC H3A 2T6
514-398-4935 (telephone) 514-398-7247 (fax)
Posted by Whats this? at 8:52 PM
It is with great disappointment that I write to you regarding the impending loss of Astria Suparak as Director of the Warehouse Gallery in Syracuse. I should point out that while I have met Astria briefly, I do not know her personally (nor do I know you) and am writing to you broadly from my general knowledge about her program during the past year in Syracuse.
During the past year, I have heard nothing but accolades regarding Astria’s tenure at Warehouse. Having been at Hallwalls for the past six and a half years, I can confidently say that this past year was the first in which I heard ANYTHING about the art scene in Syracuse. Clearly, the programming Astria initiated at Warehouse had a prodigious impact—the positive and enthusiastic feedback I received about her programming came to me from artists (in Buffalo and Syracuse), other curatorial colleagues of mine, and faculty members at Syracuse University.
The past year at Warehouse Gallery clearly exemplifies a contemporary and thought-provoking perspective and an acutely relevent series of exhibitions, examining a host of topical and slaient issues— science, technology, and art; the perpetual reconfiguration of the natural world; and sexuality and the traditional gaze as filtered through the perspective of young women artists.
Astria’s year of programming at Warehouse could readily serve as a template for smart, provocative curating. It is the sort of bright, energetic thinking that puts Syracuse more solidly on the map of contemporary ideas and serves the entire audience of Syracuse—art patrons, art students, art faculty, and everyone in between.
The fact that this news arrives concurrent with news of your decision to cancel the impending exhibition by The Yes Men is unbelievable. In concept and execution, The Yes Men are poised on the razor’s edge question of the implications of corporate culture as it slowly and surely swallows the world. This is EXACTLY the sort of contemporary work and broadly-applicable issues with which your students should be confronted and it’s shocking to hear of its cancellation.
University environments used to be the terrain that most fervently supported radical thought, alternative perspectives, and free expression...what happened?
Even more stunning to me—if true—is that your rationale for her dismissal is a desire to “restructure” the Gallery to meet your own high standards. You’ll forgive that I am compelled to articulate the obvious to you—EVERYONE is smart enough to read “restructuring” as a complete euphemism and it will not surprise me if this logic is met with general disbelief. As Dennis Miller once put it, people can see through that “like used Neutrogena.”
Those of us in the cultural field get—quite appropriately—excited when we observe someone of Astria’s obvious skills and enthusiasm contributing to the art scene in a meaningful way, particularly when that contribution re-establishes a town like Syracuse on the art radar.
We need those young curators. And they need our support and encouragement.
I regret that this equation seems to have so easily fallen apart in Syracuse. We all had higher hopes than that.
Visual Arts Curator
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
341 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14202
Posted by Whats this? at 8:50 PM
Dear Jeffrey Hoone,
I am writing this in support of Astria Suparak. It came to my attention earlier that Astria will be terminated as Director of the Warehouse Gallery. While I do not personally know Astria that well, I am well aware of her contributions to the Warehouse Gallery and the greater Syracuse community. Since working at Delavan Art Gallery from 2002, I have witnessed exciting changes in the community in the last several year. Astria and the Warehouse Gallery have been major contributors to those changes. Things are happening and Astria has had a big impact.
Since opening in 2006, through Astria, the Warehouse Gallery has helped become a cornerstone of the area art scene going well beyond just the visual arts. In a very short period of time, it has gained a solid following from the students, artists and the community at large. She has been able to put together exciting, interesting events and exhibitions that most people would never suspect would/could happen in Syracuse. Through her work, she has helped enrich, rejuvenate and energize the people and community around her. Unfortunately, I am not sure that the hole of loosing Astria (and the energy and momentum she has generated) will be able to be filled or recaptured. I would hate to see Syracuse lose such a dynamic and dedicated individual. Please reconsider the impact of Syracuse losing Astria.
Delavan Art Gallery
Posted by Whats this? at 8:48 PM
Dear Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Dean of CVPA and Director of CMAC,
I am writing this letter to ask you to reverse the decison to restructure the
staff at the Warehouse Gallery including the dismissal of Director Astria Suparak.
I learned of this situation via at least six emails from concerned community members including Fereshteh Toosi, Emily Vey Duke, Tom Sherman, Joanna Spitzner and Onya Hogan-Finlay.
I have known Astria since the mid-1990's when we were both were curating film in Brooklyn and I have long admired her work since meeting her over 10 years ago. Her professionalism, dedication to contemporary practices and willingness to create community are simply unparalleled. The work of young women curators should be supported and given room to breathe and grow, not be cut short due to "restructuring" so quickly in the life of a vibrant new gallery making a serious positive impact in the region.
From Toronto I have kept abreast of the Warehouse Gallery's vanguard programming and have heard only positive reports from many artists involved in exhibitions there since its opening. The strength of curatorial vision, dedication to both upstate New York, regional and international artists is undeniable.
I write to you with great shock and dismay. I hope you will consider reversing this decision.
Thank you for your time.
Scott Miller Berry
THE IMAGES FESTIVAL
448-401 Richmond Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5V 3A8 CANADA
+1 (416) 971 8405 telephone
+1 (416) 971 7412 facsimile
Posted by Whats this? at 8:46 PM
Many of you have read or participated in e-mail discussions and blogs involving the Warehouse Gallery. I wish to add to the conversation and invite further response from all of you.
First and foremost, I want to say how much I appreciate the passionate response of the College of Visual and Performing Arts community regarding the importance of the programming at the gallery, both in terms of its curricular benefits and impact on the community.
It is extremely clear that the Warehouse Gallery has provided greater opportunities for our faculty to engage students and the community in important creative and cultural issues. I find its programming to be of exceptional value and critical to the educational mission of the college.
None of us is in a position to know the confidential personnel issues associated with the Warehouse Gallery. Based on what I know about the situation, I believe that this decision was based on personnel issues and not based on artistic direction, curatorial programming or previous, ongoing or planned exhibitions at the Gallery.
Ultimately, the most important issue is that we continue to stress the need for curatorial programming that speaks to controversial contemporary issues in powerful ways. This is inherent to the college's mission.
The college has been and will continue to be an integral part of the Chancellor's vision of Scholarship in Action and our engagement with the community. This is inherent to the college's mission and I know going forward the leadership of college and our artists will be engaged in continuing dialogue to help shape the offerings of the Warehouse Gallery. At the same time, I know that the University's leadership is fully committed to the Warehouse Gallery and continuing to support it as a critical venue for the arts community and contemporary art.
Dean Carole Brzozowski
Posted by Whats this? at 8:41 PM
Dear Jeff Hoone and Nancy Cantor,
It is in everyone's best interest for you to reverse your decision to lay off Astria Superak, Director of The Warehouse Gallery. To terminate Ms. Superak is an error that is being noticed and will be publicized within the local, national and international art communities. It sets a bad precedent that jeopardizes the positive developments that have happened in the last five years here in Syracuse.
Ms. Superak has done a wonderful job of constructing significant exhibitions on poignant subjects relative to the local community (Embracing Winter) and the international art community (most noteably, the upcoming Keep it Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men). She has regularly supported area exhibitions, been a role model collaborator, participated in local government meetings as the much needed voice of a downtown resident, etc. Astria has gone above and beyond her professional call of duty to engage her adopted community, establishing The Warehouse Gallery as surprising success here and abroad. I have witnessed this as a local artist, a former SU student, as Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator of Delavan Art Gallery and as a former coordinator of Th3, The Third Thursday.
Syracuse is getting closer to being recognized as a significant and important hub of the arts, but it is in a fragile condition. One twist of the economy or hesitancy from local government or Syracuse University administration can mean the end of any of the eight or so galleries that have opened here in the last five years. Your initial placement of Astria Superak as Director of The Warehouse Gallery was inspirational and raised the standards for Syracuse art. Regardless of your reasoning, removing Ms. Superak during the exhibition COME ON: Desire Under the Female Gaze and just prior to Keep it Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men sends a message that Syracuse University administration does not support innovative and controversial programming. SU has stepped forward as a leader for the arts and therefore sets the standard for the Syracuse community at large as well. This action lowers that standard to what is minimal and "safe." This action is a punishment to progress.
The damage is already being done. I suggest amending the message you are sending to people such as myself who are working to improve Syracuse. Immediately reversing your decision to remove Astria Superak and taking this opportunity to further support her efforts at The Warehouse Gallery is perhaps the only way to avoid an embarrassment to SU's reputation and the negative repercussions it will have within the local arts community. By firing Astria Superak, you are hurting the very community The Warehouse Gallery seeks to support.
Please take this opportunity to correct the error before it takes full effect.
Best of luck,
Posted by Whats this? at 8:39 PM
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.......
let this e-mail signal my support for Astria Suparak. i have worked w/ Astria , she is professional and above such shoddy treatment .i wish her t/ best , as for t/ Warehouse
Gallery , well you blew it , you lost one t/ most effective Curators
of her generation. Small minds in a small town
Professor, Film Production
Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Posted by Whats this? at 8:35 PM
Dear Mr Hoone
I'm pleased to hear you will proceed with the Yes Men Exhibition,
though you have doubtless sent a message of confusion and weak
leadership by subverting Astria's initial plans.
While I understand it takes many people to run a gallery, I know form
personal experience it takes but a single person to destroy one.
By removing Astria Suparak as Director you are taking on a very
unpopular and lonely role as The Man who crushed the hopes of an
entire city and you will certainly be held accountable in local,
national and international media (already on the verge of
publication). I'm not sure you understand how many supporters Astria
has both in the United States and abroad.
It's not too late,
I encourage you to act now to reverse your decision before you make
an embarrassment of yourself, the University and the City of Syracuse.
It's really not that difficult,
stand up and be a real leader not just a stubborn one,
If this is impossible, please at least acknowledge publicly the
reasons for Astria's dismissal so that they can be addressed by the
public your organization is supposed to serve,
anything less will be viewed as an assertion of your administration's
at this time I should inform you that your reply messages are being
posted to a public forum, here
Syracuse University Fellow, MFA 2006
On 9/17/07, Jeffrey Joseph Hoone
> Dear Mr. Bailey,
> A little more than two years ago the Warehouse Gallery was just an
> The guiding principle in the inception of the Gallery was the goal of
> positioning the arts as an important component of community
> by Syracuse University. As such, the Gallery has become an important
> venue for the exhibition of contemporary art. We have also defined
> mission so that it can engage the community in a dialogue regarding
> role the arts can play in illuminating the critical issues of our
> and times.
> There have been many individuals and groups, both at the University
> in the community, who have played crucial roles in moving the
> at the Warehouse Gallery forward. As director of the Coalition of
> Museums and Art Centers, my role in the process has included helping
> design and conceptualize the physical space of the Gallery,
> the mission and vision for exhibitions and programs, developing a
> windows exhibition space at the Gallery to display installations
> commissioned by Central New York artists, and hiring the staff to run
> the Gallery.
> It is my responsibility to develop the right mix of organizational
> structure, skills, talent, teamwork, and substance in order to
> those goals. I have made a decision to move forward toward achieving
> those goals with a new structure and a revised and broader position
> leadership of the Warehouse Gallery.
> This process started with conversations with Ms.Suparak six months
> and included discussions with other CMAC personnel. These
> have also involved staff of Human Resources within a process that
> involves confidential personnel issues and issues related to overall
> long-term goals and objectives. The final decision was mine.
> I am writing to assure you that we recognize the importance of the
> Warehouse Gallery and our commitment to strong and inspired
> for it. The programs at the Warehouse Gallery will continue to move
> forward to achieve its envisioned potential.
> I want to specifically clear up some uncertainty this change may be
> having for some about upcoming exhibitions at the Gallery, and
> specifically the exhibition, "Keeping it Slick: Infiltrating
> with the Yes Men," planned for November 13, 2007 - January 26, 2008.
> believe it is important to honor the commitment to the artists and to
> the faculty who have pledged support to this exhibition. I have
> contacted the artists involved in developing the exhibition and will
> working with the staff at the Warehouse Gallery and will, with advice
> from faculty who have made programming plans based on the exhibition,
> develop strategies to allow us to continue the exhibition as planned.
> In any event I assure you that we will continue with a full year of
> programming in the Gallery as we move forward to continue to build
> Gallery as an important venue for the community and for contemporary
> in Syracuse.
> Jeffrey Hoone
> Executive Director
> Coalition of Museum and Art Centers
> Syracuse University
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf
> Jeremy Bailey
> Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 12:40 PM
> To: Jeffrey Joseph Hoone
> Cc: Nancy Cantor; Eric F Spina; Carole Brzozowski
> Subject: You need Astria Suparak and The Yes Men more than they need
> Dear Mr Hoone,
> Several alarming events have recently come to my attention that have
> caused me considerable concern. I was recently informed that a dear
> friend of mine Astria Suparak is in danger of losing her position as
> director of the warehouse gallery and that an extremely significant
> exhibition at the gallery has been canceled.
> It is with great conviction that I have to let you and others who are
> in a position to manage such matters know that you are making a grave
> error in judgment.
> As former director of Spark Contemporary Art Space and an active
> member of the Syracuse art community for 3 years it was my pleasure
> introduce Astria to the city as a guest curator in 2006. I was
> to host her because I knew that her profile exceeded the capabilities
> of our small student run gallery. And yet, as I knew then and I know
> now, Astria is a very strong supporter of local community and
> in bringing disparate geographies and social groups together, not
> tearing them apart. She is the type of person that inspires everyone
> around her to make great things happen. In essence, she is exactly
> type of person that Syracuse so desperately needs.
> For these reasons it was my pleasure to introduce Astria to the
> Warehouse gallery search committee, and it was my delight to discover
> she would act in the capacity of director.
> Since that time I have left the city to be a practicing artist in
> Toronto, but I continue to go out of my way to return to the
> gallery when I visit Syracuse and when I travel anywhere near the
> limits. Furthermore it has been an absolute pleasure and sometimes
> shock to hear from curators and artists here in Toronto and on trips
> to Buffalo, New York City, Philadelphia and beyond about "How hot
> Syracuse is right now". You have to understand the significance of
> these words. You must know that Syracuse hasn't been hot or
> significant in any way since David Ross was curator at the Everson.
> And believe it or not, you are currently in the presence of another
> David Ross, Astria Suparak is the type of Curator that you are going
> to kill yourself for not having cherished.
> Case in point, the canceled exhibition in question. The Yes Men are
> one of the most relevant group of American artists living today. A
> quick look at the exhibition histories of major national and
> international museums will turn up their name frequently (I first
> discovered them at MASS MoCA). Indeed, I spoke recently with Claire
> Schneider, curator at the Albright Knox in buffalo where I am
> currently exhibiting. She told me that she had recently been asked to
> make a presentation at this year's CAA on the topic of Collectives
> Collaboration in contemporary art. She spoke of a distinct interest
> internationally in this type of art making and that she was very
> excited to research and present the topics and strategies these
> artists are working with. I don't need to tell you The Yes Men were
> one of the first such groups that came up in our discussion.
> You are about to cancel the most significant show in Syracuse history
> since Nam June Paik had his retrospective at the Everson.
> I urge you to reverse whatever decisions you have made regarding both
> Astria and her programming choices. Indeed, I'd like to encourage
> take this as an opportunity to increase funding, promotion and
> attention for the Warehouse gallery and to honor the excellent work
> Astria has done in only 12 short months as director.
> ask yourselves how many other members of the Sryacuse community have
> done as much,
> ask yourselves whether you can afford to lose even one of them,
> I trust you know the correct answer to these questions,
> please call me if there is anything I can do to further convince you
> of Astria's or the Yes Men's considerable merits, there are many
> 416 895 8---,
> sincerest regards,
> Jeremy Bailey
> MFA, Syracuse University, 2006
Posted by Whats this? at 11:39 AM
I am writing this letter to show my support for Astria Suparak, the current Director of the Warehouse Gallery. The decision to remove her from her position as the Director and Curator is not to the advantage of the gallery, the Syracuse art community, nor the city at large. I say this as someone with an interest in contemporary art and in the future of upstate NY. As an artist, I know Suparak through colleagues and through her ambitious, innovative, and challenging curatorial work. Thus, I am very disappointed to hear that my hometown, or at least the management at the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers (CMAC) at Syracuse University, does not support her vision and direction within such an important emerging institution.
It is no secret that central NY has long suffered a flight of young, creative, energetic people. While in graduate school in Chicago in the late 1990s, I even witnessed a televised ad campaign to lure “creative types” like me back to the area. I grew up in Syracuse, attendedNottingham High School, and graduated from Hamilton College, just a few exits down the Thruway, in Clinton. I return to the region regularly, as my parents still live in Syracuse and my own artwork increasingly focuses on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. I was excited last year to learn about the Warehouse Gallery and hopeful that Suparak would, as its curator, bring with her the kind of imagination, energy, and creativity missing so long from the Syracuse art scene. This is the very kind of development that will draw people like me home (we’re certainly not coming back for yet another shopping mall).
In the past, Syracuse has played an important role in cutting-edge art movements. Any fan of Bill Viola or Nam June Paik knows how important the Everson Museum was for the emergence of the medium of video art. A curator like Astria Suparak, if allowed to take the risks necessary to experiment in her position, can also bring contemporary notoriety to the region. Based upon shows already mounted and those in the planning stages, it would appear from my point of view that Syracuse is already benefiting from her undertakings: works represented in just the first year of exhibitions at the gallery are excellent examples of interesting, smart, critical contemporary production. It has been enough that those within my own sphere of emerging artists and cultural critics, extending from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to artist lofts in Brooklyn and even to international art and media festivals, are starting to take notice. By removing Suparak now, CMAC is poised to undermine her work and to dismantle what is swiftly becoming a reputation within the contemporary art world of which Syracuseshould be proud.
Paul Lloyd Sargent
The Paley Center for Media
25 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
T 212-621-6664/F 212-621-6765
[formerly The Museum of Television & Radio]
Posted by Whats this? at 11:26 AM
Dear Syracuse University Administrators,
I'm writing with concern about the recent cancellation of Astria Suparak's
programming at the Warehouse Gallery. I was made aware of this situation by
an email from Fereshteh Toosi and Emily Vey Duke. I'm a filmmaker and
writer in New York and I've followed Astria's programming and work for many
years with great admiration.
I'm not familiar with the intricacies of what lead to her dismissal. But
having worked with Astria in the past, I can imagine that she was
extraordinarily competent and rigorous in her position. I would be alarmed
and extremely concerned if she was dismissed because of challenging content
in her programming. The cultural and intellectual value of the work Astria
brings to Syracuse should not be underestimated.
It's a shame to see that future exhibitions, such as The Yes Men have been
canceled. It's a disservice to your student body, who would benefit
greatly from this material.
Thank you for earnestly reconsidering the cancellation of Astria's
programming and tenure at the Warehouse gallery. I imagine her
contributions to your University are vital.
Posted by Whats this? at 11:26 AM
Dear Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Dean of CVPA and Director of CMAC,
This letter is in regards to recent news on the possible end of the Warehouse Gallery and the cancellation of their upcoming exhibit. Speaking as a concerned member of the community and a small business owner in downtown, I feel this is a grave mistake. From the first exhibit that I went to, Networked Nature, I could sense the potential this Gallery had and the difference it could make on the city. Much of this energy I credit to the curator Astria Suparak. Whether it’s communicating future events or networking like minded talents from here and other major cities, she’s the reason so many of us know about the Warehouse. Being in Syracuse for 3 years with this business I’ve learned that things take time to catch on. You don’t have the luxury of having lots of “walking traffic” like most major cities. What you have are people who drive out to maybe hit a restaurant or shop and stumble across something they never knew was there. It’s these unique shops and Gallery’s that bring people back to the city and change the scope of downtown. It’s what will get people to live downtown. The thought of future collaborations with roji tea lounge and the Warehouse Gallery was something Astria and I talked about. Many customers at Roji share the same interests and goal as Astria and the Warehouse Gallery. That is being a part of something that’s not easily categorized. It’s what gives a city its character and is something I think you should take into consideration before you make this decision. Thank you for your time.
Christian Van Luven
roji tea lounge
108 E Washington St, Syracuse , NY 13202
t.315 428 0844
Posted by Whats this? at 9:41 AM
Dear Chancellor Cantor,
I am writing in support of Astria Suparak and frankly I am shocked by the series of events that have begun to unfold within CMAC. First, the sudden cancellation of the Yes Men of the exhibition by CMAC’s Executive Director, Jeff Hoone seemingly followed by news that Astria Suparak is being unilaterally forced out of her position as Director of the Warehouse Gallery. Like many other community members, I am greatly upset by these events, which invoke a feeling of censorship.
Astria Suparak is a friend and someone I have the utmost respect for both as a curator and as a person. Under Ms. Suparak’s leadership the Warehouse Gallery has set a high standard for contemporary art galleries in any city, but in Syracuse the Warehouse Gallery represents a beacon of hope for young artists in an otherwise mediocre art scene. I will not digress into the details of Ms. Suparak’s outstanding track record at the Warehouse Gallery. As you have heard from many others in support of Ms. Suparak, I can say that firmly agree with all of their words.
As a recent alumnus of the Syracuse University MFA, I am greatly concerned by the current direction of CMAC under the leadership of Mr. Hoone. As I am no longing beholden to Syracuse University, I have many questions regarding the internal decision-making of CMAC. Specifically, who at Syracuse University is CMAC and its Executive Director, Mr. Hoone accountable to and were these parties complicit in this decision? Furthermore, I believe that the leadership of CMAC warrants change more so than that the Warehouse Gallery.
When I converse with potential students thinking attending Syracuse University, I want to tell them that Syracuse University is a progressive university, open to diverse ideas. I feel though that the honest answer would be a place of censorship and intolerance.
MFA, Syracuse University 2007
Posted by Whats this? at 1:00 AM
I have recently been informed of a decision you have taken regarding
Astria. I have also been asked to write a letter in support for her
continuation as director at the Warehouse. While I support Astria and
am particularly supportive and inspired by the shows she's curated, I
am also curious to know what is at issue with her removal.
I think it is fair to assume that you have come to this decision
rationally and with good intention - with that in mind could please
inform me of this? If not me personally, then do you have a formal
public statement on the matter?
Bart Woodstrup, Artist
Posted by Whats this? at 12:36 AM
From: Stephanie Koenig [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Mon 9/17/2007 10:42 PM
To: Carole Brzozowski; Eric F Spina; Nancy Cantor
Cc: Jeffrey Joseph Hoone; Ann C Clarke; Joanna Spitzner; Astria Suparak; Samuel J. Van Aken; Lewis Colburn; Lewis Colburn; Arjan Zazueta; Jenny Marsh
Subject: RE: In support of the Warehouse Gallery
I feel that Astria's role on my thesis committeee has,
at least, gotten some attention. So, let me make my
I have absolutely no doubt that my thesis committee
without Astria will support and embrace me. That is
not my concern.j
I take issue with the unquestioned support of the
decision to remove her as gallery director and
curator. I do not understand it, and all of your
replies have not informed me satisfactorily. Please
refer to this link to understand the full amount of
community support Astria has. I have no choice but to
forward these emails to this blog. I only ask that
you, as administrators, publicly justify your actions.
--- Carole Brzozowski
> Dear Stephanie,
> Let me echo what Dr. Spina has written to you. I
> suggest that you make an appointment to see
> Associate Dean Ann Clarke as soon as possible to
> discuss your committee and other concerns which
> pertain to the completion of your graduate degree.
> I'm glad to be a part of the discussion if
> necessary. Feel free to contact me directly.
> Dean Brzozowski
> From: Eric F Spina
> Sent: Mon 9/17/2007 7:44 PM
> To: Nancy Cantor; 'Stephanie Koenig'
> Cc: Jeffrey Joseph Hoone; Carole Brzozowski; Ann C
> Subject: RE: In support of the Warehouse Gallery
> Dear Ms. Koenig:
> In response to the Chancellor's, I know that Dean
> Brzozowski and Associate Dean Clarke will work with
> you to ensure that your committee is properly
> constituted and supportive of you as you pursue your
> graduate degree. If there are any issues or
> concerns that arise, please let me know.
> Eric Spina
> Eric F. Spina
> Vice Chancellor and Provost
> Syracuse University
> 500 Crouse-Hinds Hall
> Fax: 315-443-1839
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nancy Cantor
> Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 6:27 PM
> To: 'Stephanie Koenig'
> Cc: Jeffrey Joseph Hoone; Eric F Spina; Carole
> Subject: RE: In support of the Warehouse Gallery
> Dear Ms. Koenig,
> Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me about
> changes at the Warehouse Gallery. 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. I have copied
> him on this e-mail to facilitate his quick response
> to you.
> Also, I ask Provost Spina and Dean Brzozowski to
> respond to your concern about your committee.
> Nancy Cantor
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stephanie Koenig
> [mailto: email@example.com]
> Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 8:13 PM
> To: Jeffrey Joseph Hoone
> Cc: Nancy Cantor; Eric F Spina; Carole Brzozowski
> Subject: In support of the Warehouse Gallery
> To whom it may concern,
> I am writing in support of Astria Suparak. The
> decision to cancel the Yes Men exhibition and the
> possibility of the removal of Astria alarms me. The
> work she has done here has been invaluable to me as
> graduate student. Her work has been pivotal in my
> understanding of the place of feminist discourse in
> the contemporary art world. By extension, this has
> helped me to understand my own place in the art
> I do not presume to understand why exactly this
> decision was made, but I can tell you how it will be
> perceived. Syracuse will have the reputation of a
> place of intolerance. We are already a city that
> not have much culture. There isn't much here to
> anyone to visit, or to stay once a degree is earned.
> I say this bluntly because apparently this isn't
> evident. That someone as valuable as Astria would
> dispensed with shows how little this is understood.
> Other repercussions seem obvious, what message does
> this send to the person to fill her position? What
> does this say to students, faculty and the community
> at large? It implies that this community cannot
> handle difference.
> In addition to these concerns, Astria is on my
> committee. I have been looking forward to working
> with her. Without her input, I will miss out on an
> irreplaceable perspective.
> I ask that these decisions be reconsidered, for the
> community and for the university.
> Stephanie Koenig
> Graduate Student
> Sculpture, Studio Arts, VPA
> Syracuse University
Posted by Whats this? at 12:27 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.