About the Exhibition

On to Ripon College

The exhibition will travel to Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin, the site in 1854 where abolitionists formed the Republican Party. It quickly became national, but the Party of Lincoln’s roots are in Wisconsin.

September 6–October 4

The Museum of Wisconsin Art is proud to present a timely exhibition of political cartoons that reflect the 2024 presidential election and the contemporary moment in US politics. American political cartoons have a long and illustrious history that originated with Thomas Jefferson in the late eighteenth century. Cartoonists from every era since have used humor to comment on events and influence public opinion from Civil War caricatures of Abraham Lincoln to the corrupt Tweed Ring of New York City in the 1870s to the free love activism of the 1960s. And, who could forget Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, whose storied lives unfolded as bumbling, witless caricatures in nearly every American newspaper? Today’s political stew is no different, and, as is often said, sometimes you just gotta laugh.

On view in one of Milwaukee’s finest hotels and scheduled in anticipation of the Republican National Convention, Pow-litical Comics: From Ripon to the RNC will attract considerable national attention thanks to hundreds of reporters descending on the city. Featuring work by almost twenty Wisconsin artists, the exhibition covers a range of social and political perspectives, from the campy, butt-kicking superheroes of Peter Poplaski to the sophisticated social commentary of Paul Noth, staff cartoonist for The New Yorker. In addition to exhibiting work at MOWA | DTN, Noth will be covering both the Republican and Democratic conventions for The New Yorker with contemporaneous cartoons in July and August, which you can follow on Instagram @paulnoth.

The exhibition is curated by James P. Danky, co-author of Wisconsin Funnies: Fifty Years of Comics (Museum of Wisconsin Art, 2020).

This exhibition is open to the public at MOWA | DTN, the museum’s satellite location inside Saint Kate—The Arts Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.

Image: Peter Poplaski, Pow-litical Comics, 2024 (detail)
Paul Noth, Other Countries Are Laughing at Us!, 2016