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Washington, Feb 1 (Canadian-Media): A new exhibition, “Art in Action: Herblock and Fellow Artists Respond to Their Times,” opened yesterday at the Library of Congress (LOC), media reports said.

Library of Congress/Facebook

​Works include in this exhibition are: original drawings by educational cartoonist, Herblock with historical and contemporary artwork, responding to major issues from the 17th century to the present day.

Library of Congress’ Art in Action exhibition/Brett Zongker

As a political cartoonist for The Washington Post — a major American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C., with a particular emphasis on national politics and the federal government — and other newspapers, Herbert L. Block — who won three Pulitzer Prizes and became known as “Herblock” devoted his career in creating social commentary through his drawings.

Most of Herblock’s lifework are housed in LOC. Key topics that drew Herblock’s attention were civil rights, gender and women’s rights, health, environment, the impact of war, refugees, education and the role of media.

In “Art in Action,” Herblock’s cartoons provide a call and response with other socially-engaged artists to express their viewpoints and engage with many of the same issues.

The exhibition includes depictions of Pablo Picasso and works in the grand, global tradition of political art by such artists as Jacques Callot, Leopoldo Méndez and Francisco de Goya and many more.

Visual artists long had a special ability, said Katherine Blood, curator of fine prints, to reflect society and culture with powerful immediacy.

Herblock’s drawings were able to pair with a number of the contemporary artworks to reference historical images and became one in a series of exhibitions, noted Exhibition Director Kim Curry, featuring Herblock’s work alongside examples by other visual artists.

Martha H. Kennedy, curator of popular and applied graphic art applauded Herblock’s sharp insight into his subjects and masterful technique to create visual metaphors topics, that he thought were urgent recurring issues.

Selected works for this exhibition draw from the Library’s extensive holdings of artists’ prints, drawings and posters.

The free exhibition, open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will run from Jan. 31 through Aug. 17, in the Graphic Arts Galleries of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, would feature 39 items, including 12 drawings by Herblock and works by 25 other artists.

Artists and works featured include:

  • Tony Auth’s depiction of Herblock taking on presidents of all stripes;
  • Alexander Calder’s Cold War-era artwork supporting the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy in 1975;
  • David Seymour’s 1937 photograph of Picasso with a glimpse of the painting “Guernica,” showing the terror of war in a famous example of protest art — and Herblock’s 1973 tribute to Picasso’s impact;
  • Kerry James Marshall’s somber tribute to civil rights champions Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy in 1997;
  • Herblock’s “Reminder, 1942,” declaring his deep appreciation for those serving in the U.S. armed forces during World War II;
  • California artist Juan Fuentes’ insight into the role of artist as social commentator in 2013;
  • Ruth Lynne McIntosh’s portrait created as part of the Combat Paper Project for veterans to produce art with paper made of old uniforms;
  • Lebanese-American artist Helen Zughaib’s memorialization of Syrian refugees.

The exhibited items, unique in their scope and richness, are particularly strong in the history of the United States and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people and were selected from the picture collections in the Prints and Photographs Division, which number more than 16 million images.

The exhibition is part of a yearlong initiative in 2019 inviting visitors to Explore America’s Changemakers with a series of exhibitions, events and programs.

“Art in Action” is made possible through the generous support of The Herb Block Foundation.​

An online exhibition will be available at loc.gov.

LOC, the world’s largest library, is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on site and online.​

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)



Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women