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William Kent, Amer., (1919-2012), Abolish HUAC (House on Un-American Activities Committee, Color Slate Print, 1963, Ed. of 13 known, 36 x 16, small diagonal crease to tip upper left margin corner, pin holes to top corner tips, on burnt orange satin acetate fabric measuring 40 x 19-3/4, signed, dated and annotated mono print by the artist in blue pen, some minor fraying at edges of margins.
This is the first print in Kent’s Gravestone Series, which used traditional symbols the artist found on early gravestones in cemeteries near his home. Kent used these symbols as a decorative border around a pithy text expressing his views on politics, nature, morality and life. HUAC, The House on Un-American Committee, begun in 1938, was separate from Senator McCarthy’s Senate Committee in the 1950’s. Both were on the hunt for Communists and subversives, especially those in government, and other influential cultural or workplace areas. Martin Dies was the first chairman, followed by the others listed until the time of Kent’s carving the slate for this protest print. The committee was finally abolished in 1975, yet today the subjects of immigration and terrorism threaten what Kent perceived as an attack on freedom of speech and the artist’s role as a critic of contemporary society. Kent’s prints remain as fresh and relevant as when they were created. The iridescent orange satin flashes as one walks by, making this a particularly fresh and vibrant impression in very good condition.