Wisconsin Funnies: Fifty Years of Comics

August 4, 2020  21:17  |  News

The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) announces the opening of Wisconsin Funnies: Fifty Years of Comics. The exhibition presents the rich history of comics in Wisconsin as it explores the major themes, innovations, and publications that characterize the state’s contributions to comic culture. The exhibition opens on August 8 with opening weekend activities and remains on view through November 22, 2020.

Wisconsin Funnies: Fifty Years of Comics

Peter Poplaski, “Wisconsin Funnies,” 2020. Courtesy of the Museum of Wisconsin Art ©

“This exhibition introduces some much-needed laughs into 2020,” said Associate Curator of Contemporary Art J Tyler Friedman. “But the works also show the serious side of comics as a medium for political protest and a platform for marginalized voices.”

The West Bend museum presents a comprehensive overview of comics in Wisconsin including underground comics (a.k.a. “comix”) and the lively Madison scene including artwork by 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Lynda Barry, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Creativity at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The museum’s Milwaukee venue, MOWA|DTN, located within Saint Kate-The Arts Hotel highlights politically-themed comics. The exhibited works include graphic novels, alternative newspapers from the 1970s, a comic book commissioned by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and multi-page stories by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s longtime (1967-1991) editorial cartoonist Bill Sanders.

In connection with the exhibition, a fully illustrated 244-page catalogue aptly titled Wisconsin Funnies: Fifty Years of Comics articulates the national role of Wisconsin comics. The catalogue features essays by historian and culture critic James P. Danky and Madison-based graphic novel author and editor Paul Buhle. The catalogue features more than 150 comic illustrations by thirty-one comic artists including Ernie Bushmiller, Al Capp, Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Peter Poplaski, Steve Rude, and Bill Sanders. The Wisconsin Funnies exhibition catalogue will be available for purchase at both exhibition locations.


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