Gutzon Borglum on the 1913 Armory Show
Gutzon Borglum, a short-tempered man, never hesitated to express his opinions bluntly. Commissioned to carve sculptures for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, he engaged in a public debate over whether angels were male or female. Here he comments on the famous Armory Show of 1913, which introduced “modern” art such as Cubism to American audiences.
"I mean," he said, "that farcical and foolish exhibition made up largely of paranoiacs. All the interest centred in the cubists. People rushed by the thousands to see them, and I say it was a shame and a crime the way the newspapers paid so little attention comparatively to the good work in the exhibition, for there was a lot of good work hung there. 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." -- Quoted in the New York Times 3/29/1913, from Borglum’s speech at Cooper Union soon after Armory Show
For more on the 1913 Armory Show, see the page (but not the episode) on Theodore Roosevelt.
In Lower Manhattan, the American Express logo still appears in terracotta, on the sides of at least two buildings.
This and more than 1,500 photos of New York City architecture are available on the Upward Glance New York screensaver.
The Very Model of a Modern Major General
Copyright (c) 2013 Dianne L. Durante