Fanzine feature on Come On and controversy

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Desire in Syracuse: the ‘Come On’ Controversy

Yvonne Olivas
Nov. 16, 2007


The exhibition opened in late August in Syracuse, New York at the Warehouse Gallery. Affiliated with Syracuse University as one of a consortium of school galleries (Coalition of Museums and Art Centers—CMAC), the space maintains relative independence with its off-campus, downtown location. This location allowed The Warehouse to better fulfill its purported aim to act as a bridge between the university and the population of Syracuse while presenting international contemporary engaged art, but more specifically by stimulating dialog about art’s role in society and expanding notions of art with exposure to current art practice.

Of course, “Come On” did just that with three young women artists taking on desire and sexuality and brought together by a curator who openly describes herself as a “young, queer woman of color.” And whether at first by choice and later by dint of circumstance, the ongoing theme of the exhibition was the personal laid bare and exposed. Alternately sexy and uncomfortable the show was always HOT

Standing in sharp contrast to this text-book approach was Suparak whose exhibitions resisted narrow thinking and neat categorization—”Come On” was exemplary in this regard. For Hoone though, it must have had the character of something he could not understand nor contain—it was too messy, too sexy, too complicated—overall, too hot. But it was the same HOT thing that Syracuse embraced; and while probably challenging, a threat it was not. The fact is that Suparak did curate contextually strong exhibitions. This is why she had a following. This is why the Warehouse was widely hailed as a success… Suparak was exceedingly capable of creating a context for challenging and new work.