The Library of Congress has opened two new exhibition spaces: the Swann Gallery and the Herblock Gallery. The galleries are two of three exhibition spaces located within the new Graphic Arts Galleries on the ground level of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building.
The Herblock Gallery celebrates the work of editorial cartoonist Herbert L. Block—better known as "Herblock"—with an ongoing display of 10 original drawings, to change every six months. The inaugural exhibition, "Herblock Looks at Communism," presents a selection of his 1951 cartoons about the Korean War.
In September, a new installation in the Herblock Gallery will explore the Khrushchev-Kennedy confrontation in 1961.
The Swann Gallery introduces visitors to the fascinating world of caricatures, political cartoons, comics, animation art, graphic novels and illustrations. A permanent memorial exhibition will feature 15 facsimiles of treasured cartoons from the Swann and other cartoon collections, which represent the broad range of holdings in the Library of Congress.
In September 2011, a third gallery will open with a changing-exhibition program that showcases the graphic arts collections in the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library. Its inaugural exhibition will be "Timely and Timeless: New Comic Art Acquisitions," featuring treasures of original cartoon art that were added to the Library’s collections during the past decade. On display will be political commentaries, comic-strip and comic-book drawings, New Yorker magazine illustrations and examples of graphic narratives.
The Library has a long history of exhibiting cartoon and caricature art, with the first Swann Gallery—known as the Oval Gallery—opening in 1982 in the James Madison Building. The Swann Gallery moved to the Thomas Jefferson Building in 1998 and remained open until 2004, when preparations started for construction of the Library’s passageway to the Capitol Visitors Center. In subsequent years, large-scale cartoon art exhibitions – "Humor's Edge: Cartoons by Ann Telnaes" (2004); "Enduring Outrage: Editorial Cartoons by Herblock" (2006); "Cartoon America" (2006); and "Herblock!" (2009) – were held in various exhibition spaces in the Jefferson Building.