CMAC: Roots of Collaboration
The Warehouse Gallery
August 24 – October 19, 2006
This exhibition presented a preview of the collections of member organizations in the new Coalition of Museum and Art Centers. CMAC was formed in September 2005 by Syracuse University President and Chancellor Nancy Cantor, with a mission to celebrate and explore the visual and electronic arts through exhibitions, publications, education, and scholarship.
CMAC brings together the programs, services, and projects of several different campus art centers and affiliated non-profit organizations in a collaborative effort to expand the public’s awareness, understanding, and involvement in the arts.
The overall umbrella of Syracuse University provides the infrastructure, educational platform, resources, and influence to make the Coalition possible while expanding the role and responsibility of the University in the Central New York community and beyond.
Lively exhibition includes historic and contemporary international works
The Warehouse Gallery is a brand new contemporary art space on the edge of Armory Square in downtown Syracuse, New York. Housed in the former Dunk & Bright furniture warehouse (renovated into the iconic blue and gold windowed addition to the skyline) the gallery exhibits and commissions work by international and local artists.
Vibrant hand-painted vines lace the gallery walls, cleverly tying together the diverse works and accentuating the “family tree” theme of the exhibition, CMAC: The Roots of Collaboration, on view from August 24 through October 19, 2006. This family consists of members in the recently formed Coalition of Museum and Art Centers. CMAC, an initiative by Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor, has a mission to celebrate and explore the visual and electronic arts through exhibitions, publications, education, and scholarship. CMAC brings together the programs, services, and projects of several different campus art centers and affiliated non-profit organizations in a collaborative effort to expand the public’s awareness, understanding, and involvement in the arts.
Notes The Warehouse Gallery Director Astria Suparak, who curated the show in concert with each organization, “This exhibition reveals the unique personality of each Coalition member, elucidating the different objectives and sampling treasures from each collection. It was conceived to appeal to a wide range of audiences.” She adds, “It has something for everyone, whether you’re a tree-hugger, pet-lover, art buff, D&D enthusiast, political activist, contortionist, and/or artist!”
CMAC: The Roots of Collaboration is a visual guide to the coalition organizations:
- SUArt Galleries is the new amalgamation of the Lowe Art Gallery and the University Art Collection. The Galleries’ contribution to the exhibition illustrates the rich diversity of the permanent collection, from the haunting Renaissance images by Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach to the sharp social commentary of Goya. The department’s strength in 20th century American art is seen in Martin Lewis’ sweltering New York nocturne, Glow of the City, and in a pair of chromed Art Deco poodles by Boris Lovet-Lorski.
- Light Work’s Permanent Collection includes work donated by participants in the Artist-in-Residence program. Selected for the exhibition is a photo from Chan Chao’s series of Burmese Rebels, also chosen for the 2002 Whitney Biennial. A sense of calm and tenderness is captured, while also bringing greater awareness of the democracy movement in Burma. Carrie Mae Weems investigates the power of racial jokes and the tradition of oral history in a black-and-white photograph incorporating text. The signature weaving technique of Dinh Q. Lê is on view, combining images from the Vietnam War with stills from popular movies. Recognizing how Hollywood’s representation of the war stretches from the hyper-real to the surreal, Lê suggests it produces a new kind of memory which is ‘neither fact nor fiction.’ Also exploring the border of culture and representation are the collaborative team Max Becher and Andrea Robbins. Their series German Indians looks at a long-standing German romanticization of the American West.
- The Special Collections Research Center of Syracuse University Library displays classic images taken for Life magazine by Margaret Bourke-White, alongside her view camera and its travel case; 19th century sideshow performers from the Ronald G. Becker Collection of Charles Eisenmann Photographs; the first comic strip character, the Yellow Kid, created by Richard Outcault; and playful sketches by the Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer.
- Community Folk Art Center contrasts fearsome masks from West Africa with carnivalesque ones from Mexico. The wooden Liberian visors, once part of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, and now in CFAC’s permanent collection, incorporate natural materials such as feathers and hair. The devil faces flourished with festive paint are from the Mexican folk art collection of Alejandro Garcia, director of SU’s School of Social Work.
- The finale of the show is the back room (the former vault of the building), devoted to The Warehouse Gallery’s dreamy projection of the future. An enticing list of upcoming initiatives includes an Art Happy Hour for downtowners, a series highlighting young art collectives across North America, and a store for affordable, handcrafted art objects, among others. The gallery’s mission is to engage the community in a dialogue regarding the role the arts can play in illuminating the critical issues of our times. Visitors can interact with the displays: a plant-shaped chalkboard asks viewers what they’d like to see in The Warehouse Gallery, clipboards gather information from potential collaborators, labeled Polaroids virtually introduce audiences to one another, and submission applications are dispensed. The gallery will commission Central New York artists to create unique installations for their street-level windows facing the busy intersection of West Fayette and West Streets.
Coalition members are each matched to an indigenous tree for the exhibition CMAC: The Roots of Collaboration. This organizational strategy is in line with The Warehouse Gallery’s lively, organic growth and novel way of incorporating regional idiosyncrasies into its international exhibitions.
Fill up on art and food at The Warehouse Gallery’s reception on September 21, 2006, from 5–8 pm. At 5:30 brief talks by CMAC directors will commence.