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George Stanley McGovern

America Needs McGovern
Larry Rivers, 17 Aug 1923 - 14 Aug 2002
Copy after
Malcolm Varon
George Stanley McGovern, 19 Jul 1922 - 21 Oct 2012
Color photolithographic halftone poster
Sheet: 75.6 x 58.4cm (29 3/4 x 23")
Board: 80.6 x 63.5cm (31 3/4 x 25")
A to G depth: 7/8"
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Virginia Zabriskie
Restrictions & Rights
© Larry Rivers/VAGA New York, NY
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Avon, South Dakota
George McGovern was a congressman and a senator from South Dakota, but he is best remembered for losing the 1972 presidential campaign to Richard Nixon. His crushing defeat in that election reshaped the American political culture, shifting more power to the right. McGovern had been heir to the prairie populism that was a feature of the Democratic Party’s liberalism. As he became more politically and morally opposed to the war in Vietnam, he made a run for the presidency. Capitalizing on the Democrats’ new primary procedures, which he had helped write, McGovern won an unlikely nomination. Larry Rivers’s campaign poster moves from a crossed-out sketch of President Nixon to a smiling photograph of McGovern, suggesting that the Democratic nominee could put the country’s scattered pieces back together.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection