(American, b. 1934)
Gelatin silver print
Image: 18.8 x 28.3 cm (7 3/8 x 11 1/8 in.); Paper: 27.9 x 35.4 cm (11 x 13 15/16 in.); Matted: 40.6 x 50.8 cm (16 x 20 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1993.153
© 1976 Lee Friedlander
Mt. Rushmore was proposed around 1920, but not completed until 1941.
Lee Friedlander did not photograph the famed sculpture of four US presidents; he shot its reflection, along with the two tourists viewing it through the lenses of their binoculars and camera. The Lakota Sioux, who call the mountain Six Grandfathers and consider it sacred territory, see the sculpture through a different lens: as a monument to European settlers who killed Indigenous populations and took their land. Created in order to attract tourists to the region, the sculpture was originally intended to depict white and Native American heroes of the American West. The artist chosen for the project felt that presidents would draw a broader audience.
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