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Shapiro Library

A Dreadful Attack of Presidential Fever

September 1 - December 21, 2020

Created by Professor Deborah Varat, Southern New Hampshire University


The McIninch Gallery is proud to present the newest exhibition " A Dreadful Attack of Presidential Fever" curated by professor Deborah Varat. The Exhibition explores presidential election cartoons from the late 19th century as well as recent caricatures of American presidents by contemporary graphic artists. The popular imagery from 19th-century popular magazines, made at the high point of the cartoon as a form of mass visual communication, played an outsize role in electoral politics during the Gilded Age and beyond.

Pairing these historical images with contemporary works, the exhibition suggests a level of public cynicism about presidential electoral politics over a long span of American history. On display in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election, the exhibit will additionally provide for viewers a historical precedent of the power of media in shaping public opinion of presidents and presidential candidates.

The Exhibition