Sunday, May 11, 2008

MLK Monument

The centerpiece for the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall has drawn criticism from a federal arts panel, which says the proposed statue looks "confrontational" and resembles the head of a socialist state more than a civil rights leader. The statue (shown on the left with the artist) is a one of the models of a 28-foot tall statue depicting King emerging from a chunk of granite, his arms folded in front of his chest, his legs firmly rooted, an intense gaze on his face.

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which reviews the design of projects in the capital area, said the design should be reworked to reflect a more sympathetic rendering of King.Members thought "the proposed treatment of the sculpture - as the most iconographic and central element of the memorial to Dr. King - would be unfortunate and inappropriate as an expression of his legacy". The panel went on to say that the statue resembled a genre of political sculpture that has recently been pulled down in other countries. I personally find nothing wrong with the artist's depiction of Dr. King. I am interested to know if others find the statue offensive. All opinions are welcome.


The Rock Chick said...

Is the other statue being referenced to the ones of Sadaam Hussein?

What is wrong with people? I'm tired of people getting offended by everything.

I don't think there is anything wrong with that statue of MLK and in fact, I think the pose doesn't reflect someone confrontational, but someone steadfast in his beliefs. His legs (ideas) were firmly rooted! His beliefs were correct and I think his arms across his chest symbolize that.

The man gave his life for speaking out and trying to not only better this country, but better all of the people who live in it. Dr. King spoke to everyone and his words and ideas should be held strong, firm and intense. I totally think this statue represents all of that.

Malcolm said...

I don't see anything at all wrong with the proposed statue of MLK. I'll bet that if they go with the statue as is, there will be little (if any) public outcry.

Lori said...

Interesting stance by the Fine Arts Commission . . . Unless the King family has a problem, I don't see why the statue "as is" wouldn't be appropriate.

pjazzypar said...

RC, I never thought of the comparison, but you could be right. I agree with your assessment that his stance symbolizes his steadfast belief and has absolutely nothing to do with being confrontational.

Malcolm, The only public outcry will be from those who don't feel he warrants being exalted, you know the same ones who are against the King holiday. Nobody will care about how stern he looks or how he is standing.

Lori, The Fine Arts Commission needs to get a life and stop trying to create controversy where there is none. You are right, the remainder of the King children should make the call.

X. Dell said...

I don't particularly care for that model, for the reasons critics have cited. It's not the world's most pressing issue, but I could think of better interpretations of this.

The problem isn't "people getting offended by everything." The problem is a consistent portrayal of dominant narrative without challenge for fear of being accused of hypersensitivity. During King's life, a number of Americans seriously believed that he was a troublemaker with no purpose at best, and at worst a Soviet spy. These attitudes were voiced again in the 1980s when declaring King's birthday a federal holiday became an issue.

To me, this depiction reflects the view of King by his detractors. Think about it. In all of the photographs and videotapes of King that you've ever seen, how many depict him actually scowling, as he is doing in this model?