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"Abolish HUAC" (House UnAmerican Activities Committee) by William Kent, (Amer., 1919-2012)
Color Slate Print, 1963, Ed. of 13 known in various colors on Japan and various fabrics, 36" x 16", on burnt orange satin cloth, signed, dated and annotated "mono print" by the artist in blue pen, crease to top left margin corner, some minor fraying at edges of margins. This is the first print in Kent's Gravestone Series, which used traditional decorative surrounds the artist found on early gravestones in cemeteries near his rural CT home. Kent used these decorative borders substituting his own pithy text which expressed his views on politics, nature, morality and life. "HUAC", The House UnAmerican Activities Committee, was formed in 1938 but 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 Kent carved the slate for this protest print in 1963. The committee was finally abolished in 1975, yet echos ring today in current policy shifts and heightened paranoia regarding the links between immigration and domestic terrorism. In his time Kent perceived HUAC as an attack on freedom of speech and censorship towards artists critiquing contemporary society. Thus Kent's prints and commentaries retain their relevance today just as when they were created. The iridescent burnt orange satin flashes light as one walks by, making this a particularly fresh and vibrant impression of this topical print in very good condition save for a crease in the top left margin corner.