It's election season. All the nation's warts, bumps and bruises are on display, in full HD. What better time to revisit the past — say, the elections of 1872 and 1876, for example — than with a trip to West Hartford's University of Saint Joseph campus, where Thomas Nast's political cartoons from that period will reside through the fall. The Noise of Democracy lays bare all of Nast's pithy comments on the complex issues and personalities that shaped those elections. You could probably credit cartoons like "Who Are the Haters?" (pictured), which ran in Harper's Weekly on Oct. 19, 1872, with how a select group of voters voted. Nast's cartoons weren't simple, quick-hit line drawings; each one is jam-packed with information. You'll be able to pore over the details for hours, if you wish, even if that's way out of step with our current short news cycles.
The Noise of Democracy: Thomas Nast and the Elections of 1872 and 1876
ends Dec. 9, Art Gallery, Bruyette Athenaeum, University of Saint Joseph, 1678 Asylum Ave., West Hartford, (860) 231-5387, usj.edu.