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Press Release

MOWA presents political cartoons exhibition in Milwaukee in anticipation of the RNC

Media Coverage April 12, 2024

(MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN) – Museum of Wisconsin Art proudly announces Pow-litical Comics: From Ripon to the RNC, on view at MOWA | DTN inside Saint Kate—The Arts Hotel from April 12 to June 23. In anticipation of the Republican National Convention, July 15–18, Pow-litical Comics: From Ripon to the RNC is a timely exhibition of political cartoons reflecting the current moment in US politics. Curated by Adjunct Curator and comics historian James Danky, Pow-litical Comics features work from nearly twenty Wisconsin artists, including celebrated comics artist Peter Poplaski and Paul Noth, staff cartoonist for The New Yorker.

American political cartoons have a long and storied history, notorious for using humor to comment–even influence–public opinion. Poised to attract considerable national attention, Pow-litical Comics displays a range of social and political perspectives and explores their impact on American culture and democracy. The exhibition offers insights into Wisconsin’s tradition of political activism, from the birth of the Republican Party in 1854 to its present-day status as one of the nation’s most-watched battleground states.

“There are lots of pieces here that are related to our current collective mix of social issues,” said Danky, curator and co-author of Wisconsin Funnies: Fifty Years of Wisconsin Comics (Museum of Wisconsin Art, 2020). “Not all comics are funny. They’re ironic, they’re dramatic. They deal with tragedy and pathos. They can show us what a concept or idea looks like–there’s an immediacy about what cartoonists do.”

Political cartoons originated in the late eighteenth century, and cartoonists from every era since have entertained viewers with thought-provoking political satire, campy, butt-kicking superheroes, and sophisticated social commentary. “Comics have value not simply for their quick, raw humor—sometimes, you just gotta laugh—but for their lasting and poignant commentary about the human condition,” said Laurie Winters, James and Karen Hyde Executive Director. “Whether through the lens of women’s rights, social injustice, or the constancy of human foibles, the comics in this exhibition are about us. They are about what makes us human, for better or worse.”

In addition to the exhibition, MOWA | DTN will offer a series of informative and laugh-out-loud tours of the exhibition led by Danky and host an Artist Talk with Noth. Noth will discuss his work and share his plans for covering the RNC and DNC for The New Yorker. The exhibition will then travel to Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin where it will be on view September 6 through October 4.

Join MOWA | DTN for Pow-litical Comics, an apt exploration of American political cartoons that offers light-hearted moments and proof of the genre’s enduring relevance.


Paul Noth, Other Countries Are Laughing At Us!, 2016