Section One

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America Needs McGovern: He Can Put It Together
George McGovern
Larry Rivers, after Malcolm Varon, 1972

Cycling the viewer’s eyes away from a crossed-out sketch of President Nixon to a smiling photograph of George McGovern, this poster by renowned artist Larry Rivers argued that America needed the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee to put the country’s scattered pieces back together.

Using a wide range of visual techniques, including pencil sketches, stencil, photography, collage, varied lettering, and puzzle pieces, the artist gave the poster the informal, youthful, and almost rebellious tone that characterized aspects of McGovern’s presidential bid and famous campaign against the Vietnam War. The poster’s “togetherness” theme reinforces the message behind the candidate’s massive “Together for McGovern at the Garden” rally of 20,000 supporters in Madison Square Garden in 1972; many of the McGovern campaign posters echo the word.