Surrealism in 2012:
Toward the World of the Fifth Sun
January 6 - February 19, 2012
GoggleWorks Center for the Arts
201 Washington Street
The last day for Surrealism in 2012: Toward the World of the Fifth Sun was April 20th. The date marked the conclusion of a small encore exhibition, held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which opened on March 12. The main exhibition featuring 235 works, held at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading Pennsylvania, lasted six weeks from January 6 thru February 19. Altogether then, the show extended for approximately three months in one place or another. Some of the art works were also briefly displayed at a cinema café where Joseph Jablonski read his poems. Several works have by now been retuned to participating artists in different countries, and many more will follow in the coming weeks or months.
The main exhibition at GoggleWorks dominated a large industrial building on three floors for the opening weeks in the long-anticipated year of 2012 -- the year that closes with the beginning of a new solar cycle, according to the traditions of the Maya people. Since a number of questioners have confused the names, it is worth emphasizing that GoggleWorks is not GoogleWorks and has nothing to do with the internet service. As it happened, attendees at the opening reception were pleased to hear of some objective chances mentioned by Joseph Jablonski in his gallery talk on January 6. The art center where the show was installed is a renovated goggle factory which once supplied much of the world with safety glasses for aviators, cyclists, welders etc., exactly the kind of eye coverings that are seen on so many Mayan sculptures and reliefs.
Explaining to the audience the key role of Franklin Rosemont in selecting Reading ( and GoggleWorks) for the Pennsylvania exhibition, I pointed out another unexpected "objective chance". Rosemont died suddenly and tragically in April 2009, just weeks after our discussion and decision. Intriguingly, we learned that the Newberry Library in Chicago, where the Memorial for Rosemont was held later in 2009, happened to possess the only extant copy of the Popul Vuh, the Mayan creation myth. Other convergences fell into place; how the city of Reading was founded, in the 1700s, by Conrad Weiser, ambassador from Pennsylvania colony to the Iroquois federation. Rosemont was author of a significant essay on Karl Marx’s study of Iroquois society, his "Ethnological Notebooks." Paramount in Franklin's admiration for the city was Reading's history as a multi-ethnic center of working class activism, it's vibrant industrial life and rich heritage involving unique Socialist successes in local and national politics through the 1920s and Thirties.
Those involved in the project here continue to be heartened by the more than favorable comments we continue to hear from those who saw the exhibitions.
We shall continue to work on this web site for the near future. In the meantime, profuse thanks are due to the artists (see “surrealists and friends”) whose fine contributions and welcome enthusiasm and advice made the exhibition possible; and also to those who assisted us in the transporting and hanging of the show. The latter include: Natalia Fernandez, Lauralynn White, Richard Summers, Ron Sokolsky, Janice Hathaway, Sheila Nopper, Corinna Jablonski, Cynthia Jablonski, Susan Shade, Mark Wesling, Brian Rogers, Ron Benbow, Julie Goodrich-Benbow, Corey Stein, and William Keisling.
Video work was done by William Keisling, Burnell Yow!, Richard Summers and Ron Schira. Music was provided by Cocina Flamenca (Paco de Nada, John Catallano, and Ricardo Kearns) with middle eastern dance by Baraka; Mark Wesling (Walnut Place show); and Jack Wright, Evan Lipson, and Johan Nystrom in free improvisation at GoggleWorks. In addition to his bringing Cocina Flamenca to the opening, we also own Rick Kearns thanks for his ongoing advise, and his support for the show which echoed often at his Friday night musical gatherings in his legendary kitchen.
Special thanks are due to Lauralynn White, gallery director of GoggleWorks, and Richard Summers, owner of Gallery at Walnut Place, for their hugely supportive work and encouragement. Let us remember also Terrie Hosey for providing important technical advise; Kate Khatib and John Duda bringing to the opening a fine poster version of Franklin's text "Freedom of the Marvelous", which we were able to distribute to many guests; Re Desarbres for translating correspondence and text from French; Micke Lundberg arriving at GoggleWorks just before the opening reception to assemble the enigmatic collective work of the Stockholm Surrealists, "The Analogical Bone Garden". Last but not least we again remember one of Surrealism's greatest allies today, Natalia Fernandez, who visited us in Harrisburg three times, giving much help and advise and taking part in the caravan from here to Reading for the opening and close of the exhibition there.
Prime recognition must surely be given to members of the Surrealist Movement in the United States from Chicago; Penelope Rosemont, Paul Garon, Beth Garon and Joel Williams. Their valuable endorsement, and contribution of fifty-plus artworks, in addition to timely material aid and treasured attendance at the show were indispensible to the morale of a project such as this. The work of Chicago surrealist Joel Williams in providing Maya-themed graphics was especially welcome, as we here in old Pennsylvania were unable to meet this phase of the project ourselves. Certainly the challenges abounded and many changes in circumstances and personnel made themselves felt as the project entered its 3rd year from the original conception.
Realizing that we were attempting a major international show based the model of Chicago in 1976, without recourse to funding from any government or corporate sponsors (i.e., exactly as Franklin Rosemont would have preferred it) and eight hundred miles from Chicago itself -- we were forced to rely on new friends and helping hands, and to delay the publication of a full pictorial catalogue. Thusly, as an ongoing but temporary record of the exhibitions, we shall keep this web site available online as we work toward a suitable print catalogue. We shall continue to add images and texts, and we hope to use this site to announce it's completion.
In the midst of all the difficulties and delays, it remains more certain than ever that the time for the "exorcism by poetry" has arrived . . .
-- Joseph Jablonski, August 2012