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Gutzon Hates Duchamp

Everyone knows the work of Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borlgum, whether you realize it or not- in 1941 he finally completed carving Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Borglum made his mark on New York City- and also had quite the beef with the first Armory Show and the Cubists. Four of his sculptures, made along with Estelle Rumbold Kohn, decorate the façade of the former Evening Post Building in the Financial District.

GutzonBorglum-4PeriodsofPublicity1 GutzonBorglum-4PeriodsofPublicityfeature

Representing the Spoken Word, the Written Word, the Newspaper, and the Printing Press, “The Four Periods of Publicity” peak out over the 9th floor of the Art Nouveau and Vienna Secession style building (a rare combo). The New York Evening Post building was designated a NY Landmark in 1965, along with the sculptures.

But let’s get back to Borglum’s total hatred of modern art. The traditionalist was pretty vocal on his criticism of the 1913 Armory Show, finding its “modern” art from Europe to be foolish. My fave is his quote on Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, which boring old traditionalists hated anyway-

“The woman coming down stairs! What nonsense! What insolence! A friend of mine said it looked more like stairs coming down a woman. Matisse has been quoted as saying that his eight-year-old son painted as well as he did. My faith, I believe it. (New York Times 3/29/1913)”

Who: Gutzon Borglum

What: The Four Periods of Publicity

Where: 20 Vesey Street, 10007 (look up to 9th floor)

2 Responses to “Gutzon Hates Duchamp”
  1. The sculptor of Mount Rushmore really,really hated Duchamp

  2. Hey, Good post. I want to read a lot more of your work.

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