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Exhibition Art in Action: Herblock and Fellow Artists Respond to Their Times

Herblock (1909–2001). “Anyhow, We Still Have Purple Mountain Majesties,” 1988. Porous point pen, graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Published in the Washington Post, August 10, 1988. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. © Herb Block Foundation (016.00.00)

America Not so Beautiful

Focusing viewers’ attention on widespread drought that threatened the nation’s food production, this cartoon appeared the same day that Congress passed a major relief bill to aid farmers. While spotlighting the severe conditions of the “drought stricken plains” and damage to fruit and grain crops, Herblock also expands his scenario, drawing attention to pollution invading the oceans and the air. Those distressing conditions—subject to some human control—offer a thought-provoking contrast with drought, over which humans have little control.