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‘This Is James Carville–Approved’: A Few Minutes With Deborah Kass on Her Pro-Hillary Print


Deborah Kass, Vote Hillary, 2016.


Artist Deborah Kass has made her name by adopting the style of iconic male artists and making works that carry her own witty, punchy, often political content. Kass has made portraits of Barbara Streisand in the style of Andy Warhol, and transformed Ed Ruscha’s OOF painting into a giant sculpture, now on view in Brooklyn, which reads “YO” or “OY,” depending on one’s vantage point. For her latest work, she has picked up Warhol’s classic image for George McGovern’s doomed 1972 presidential campaign—“Vote McGovern,” it reads beneath a photo of a menacing Richard Nixon—and made a few alterations. (See above.) Yesterday, I spoke briefly with Kass about the project.

ARTnews: When was the first time you saw the original Vote McGovern screenprint?

Kass: I really don’t know. I’ve been looking at Andy Warhol my whole life, so really hard to know. Probably in 1972 is my guess.

Did you vote for McGovern?

Yes. My first vote was at 20, in 1972. My first vote for president was for McGovern. I was for him, I was in college. I was definitely in college and preoccupied, but I was definitely for him.

How did you find that photo of Donald Trump? Was that something you had been saving?

A friend of mine sent it to me, actually.

Who’s worse, Donald Trump or Richard Nixon?

It depends if he wins or not. If he has the opportunity to be worse, I imagine he will be worse. Let’s hope he does not have that opportunity.

What has the Clinton campaign said of your work?

There are two prints being made for the campaign. One is by Chuck Close, and one is by me. These are the official commemorative prints for the convention. This is through the Democrats. This is James Carville–approved, this is attached to the campaign. The two prints are what the campaign is promoting officially.

Have you gotten any negative responses?

Just a little trolling.

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