WomenArts Mourns the Passing of Suzanne Fiol, Photographer, Curator, and Founder of New York City’s ISSUE Project Room

Suzanne Fiol

Suzanne Fiol

WomenArts joins avant-garde artists and appreciators in mourning the death of Suzanne Fiol, photographer, curator, and founder of ISSUE Project Room, one of New York’s most important performance spaces devoted to experimental culture. Fiol passed away on Monday, October 5, 2009, at the age of 49, of cancer.

A respected photographer whose work was exhibited nationally and internationally and appears in the permanent collections at The Art Institute of Chicago, The Brooklyn Museum, The Queens Museum, and the Milwaukee Art Museum, Fiol was also a curator and producer who devoted her life to the promotion of experimental culture. She founded ISSUE Project Room in 2003 as an interdisciplinary space to promote the creation of new avant-garde works. Fiol’s goal was to create a dynamic environment for music, performance, readings, and the development of new work, and she succeeded; the organization has become a reference for experimental art in New York City. Fiol was known for her innovative transformation of unlikely spaces into performance spaces recognized for their warmth and great sound: IPR, whose first home was a converted garage in the East Village, has moved twice – first to a former oil silo on the Gowanus Canal, then to The Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn, where it currently operates. The space will move yet again in 2010 or 2011, this time to a historic theatre at 110 Livingston in downtown Brooklyn, for which Fiol secured a 20-year lease last year. Major renovations are necessary before IPR can move into its (more) permanent home, for which Fiol had big plans, including the creation of a living digital and video library of contemporary avant-garde work.

ISSUE Project Room will continue moving forward, fundraising for the renovation of their new space and showcasing a diverse selection of national and international talent, inspired by Fiol’s work and her passion for the arts. Both The New York Times and The Village Voice have published articles mourning Fiol’s loss and celebrating her life.

WomenArts honors the life of this woman artist who exemplified our values by building community amongst artists, creating a forum in which to share the arts with her larger community, and providing a space in which experimental artists – who often fall outside the scope of mainstream funding and recognition – could showcase their work. We thank Suzanne Fiol for dedicating her life to supporting and promoting cutting-edge art.

If you are in New York City, honor Suzanne Fiol’s memory tonight, Friday, October 8, 2009, by attending “Poetry to the Infinitive Power(s),” a fundraiser for ISSUE Project Room that Fiol co-curated, which will feature readings by poets Bob Holman, Jonas Mekas, and Anne Waldman, among many others, as well as a musical performance and video premiere by These Are Powers. More information about tonight’s event, as well as the future home of IPR, can be found on the ISSUE Project Room website.

Photo Credit: Joe Holmes