How sculptor E. Spencer Schubert found his art in the spotlight.

Rush Limbaugh's bust is enshrined in Missouri's Capitol, but sculptor E. Spencer Schubert is ready to move on 

How sculptor E. Spencer Schubert found his art in the spotlight.

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"I wanted to sculpt a portrait of Rush that if you walked up to it, you would see the man you expect to see," he explains.

After the grip-and-grin with Limbaugh, Schubert was ushered into the House Chamber. While the unveilings of busts for Dred Scott and Buck O'Neil had packed the chamber, Schubert was surprised by the lack of people present for this one. Schubert says he became even more suspicious when his friends who are Democrats in the Legislature, including outgoing House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, didn't get in touch with him. He figured that they must have been out of the loop.

His suspicions were correct. The invitation-only ceremony was announced 20 minutes prior to its taking place. Every previous induction had been open to the public. Most of the people in the chamber were Republican lawmakers and Limbaugh's relatives. News reports said there was heavy security, although Schubert says he didn't see any guards. The secret nature of the ceremony, however, made him uneasy.

"On one hand, it's the people's House, and it should be open. On the other hand, I can understand where Speaker Tilley was coming from," Schubert says. "There were a lot of Limbaughs there. It would have been embarrassing if someone had done something gross — meaning, potentially throwing a pie in great-aunt Limbaugh's face or something."

Limbaugh spoke for about 12 minutes. Most of his comments were about the support his family had given him despite his choice to skip college and go into the radio business.

"In many families, someone like me would have been discarded because he was an embarrassment," he told the assembled Republicans and relatives.

Limbaugh also praised Tilley for standing behind him in spite of the criticism.

"The speaker's office and people in his office and the speaker himself have been under assault for wanting to do this. And, believe me, it's easy to say, 'You know what, Rush, we're better off trying this some other year,' " Limbaugh said. "He didn't do that. He hung in. It was tough. He did not give them any quarter."

Then, almost as if he were having an anaphylactic reaction to the decorum, he closed with a few parting shots at the Democrats' empty side of the chamber.

"[Tilley] laughed at them when they called his office, which is what you have to do because they're deranged," Limbaugh said. "They're literally deranged, our friends, so-called friends, on the other side of the aisle are deranged."


Schubert recalls the controversial last several months in his sunlit corner studio in the Arts Incubator on West 18th Street in the Crossroads. He says he's ready to move beyond his Limbaugh bust. The bright room reflects his disposition, which hasn't soured despite receiving 700 e-mails attacking him for sculpting the bust. Simon, Schubert's rambunctious black Lab, oscillates between sunning himself in the corner and silently urging Schubert to pet him.

"I have looked at this whole thing with a bemused 'wow,' " he says. But he expresses regret for the personal attacks lodged against his wife, Ryann, and his 2-year-old daughter, Ruby.

"I got 20 vile, vile, despicable e-mails, many of which said things about my wife and daughter," Schubert says, his tone briefly turning angry. "I can't even imagine what kind of mind it takes to express their outrage about a person who said nasty things about a woman by saying nasty things about other women. That's the most ridiculous thing in the entire world."

Paul Dorrell, the president of the Leopold Gallery, which represents Schubert, calls the fallout over the Limbaugh bust and the ensuing rage directed at Schubert "a bloody fiasco."

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