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

Herblock (1909–2001). “Now for a Look at the Map to See Where to Go from Here,” 1977. Porous point pen, graphite, India ink, and opaque white over blue pencil underdrawing. Published in the Washington Post, September 8, 1977. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. © Herb Block Foundation (016.00.00)

Concerns for the Future

As the Trans-Alaska Pipeline neared completion in May 1977, Herblock questioned the soundness of its construction and potential problems that might arise. Curving, bandaged, and bent with kinks as it snakes over the land, the pipeline he depicts inspires little confidence and portends future disaster, as suggested by the SS Oilspill on the left. Welding finished on May 31, but problems delayed initial operation and oil did not reach Valdez until July 29, 1977. This scenario seemed prescient when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground not far from Valdez in 1989.