MLK Jr. statue in Boston gets mixed reviews

A bronze sculpture honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King was unveiled in Boston on Friday to mixed reviews.

The 20-foot-tall piece, The Embrace, depicts the famous embrace between the two civil rights activists after MLK Jr. learned he had won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

But the $10 million artwork depicts two disembodied pairs of guns with no heads, causing confusion among many art fans and supporters of the civil rights icon.

Some members of the King family were among the large crowd that gathered for a ceremony at Boston Common’s Freedom Plaza, where the play was screened for the first time — with only the couple’s arms intertwined.

Several people online questioned the artist’s decision not to include the couple’s heads.

But others were moved by the piece, which pays tribute to the legendary couple who fell in love with Boston and then changed the world.

A bronze sculpture honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, depicting the couple's famous embrace, was unveiled in Boston on Friday but is receiving mixed reviews

A bronze sculpture honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, depicting the couple’s famous embrace, was unveiled in Boston on Friday but is receiving mixed reviews

The 20-foot-tall piece, The Embrace, depicts the famous embrace between the two civil rights activists after MLK Jr. learned he had won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize

The 20-foot-tall piece, The Embrace, depicts the famous embrace between the two civil rights activists after MLK Jr. learned he had won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize

The sculpture is one of the country’s largest memorials dedicated to racial justice, a privately funded organization by King Boston said last year.

Designed by Hank Willis Thomas and the MASS Design Group, it was selected from 126 proposals and installed on Boston Common, not far from where King led a rally and march in 1965.

When photos and videos of the sculpture debuted online, some Twitter users were confused by the art.

One Twitter user called it a “terrible sculpture,” while another tweeted that it didn’t translate well.

“This is awful,” added British rapper Zuby.

A user shared an image of the piece showing it at a better angle.

“It’s unfortunate that our first sighting after the reveal is the worst possible angle,” the user wrote. “Here’s what we should have seen.”

Another user slammed the sculpture for not honoring the original photo.

“The original photo inspired by this inspiration was beautiful and perfect. Why not just honor that with a replica instead of this horrible weird sexualized blob of bronze… #mlksculpture #MLK.”

Another wrote: “Finally good news. Beautiful sculpture. Thank you for sharing!’

The sculpture was unveiled as part of annual tributes and commemorations of the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which began nationwide on Friday.

People stand near the 20-foot tall bronze sculpture "The hug," a memorial to dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King on Boston Common

People stand near the 20-foot-tall bronze sculpture, The Embrace, a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, on Boston Common

A Twitter user criticized the sculpture for not crediting the original photo

A Twitter user criticized the sculpture for not crediting the original photo

Boston residents gathered to witness the unveiling of the sculpture, which cost $9.5 million

Boston residents gathered to witness the unveiling of the sculpture, which cost $9.5 million

One user said it was the angle some were seeing and not the statue as a whole that made it seem odd.

One user said it was the angle some were seeing and not the statue as a whole that made it seem odd. “It’s unfortunate that our first sighting after the reveal is the worst possible angle,” the user wrote. “We should have seen that”

The massive memorial, which consists of four intertwined arms, was dedicated Friday in Boston, where the leader first met his wife.

The civil rights activist and his wife first met in Boston in the early 1950s when he was a graduate student in theology at Boston University and she was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music.

“Both loved this city for its proud heritage as a hotbed of the abolitionist movement and its unique intellectual and educational resources,” said their son, Martin Luther King III, during the inauguration.

And indeed, Boston became a place where they forged a partnership that would transform America and make a powerful contribution to the black freedom struggle. I see that in this beautiful monument.”

“Both loved this city for its proud heritage as a hotbed of the abolitionist movement and its unique intellectual and educational resources,” said their son, Martin Luther King III, during the inauguration.

And indeed, Boston became a place where they forged a partnership that would transform America and make a powerful contribution to the black freedom struggle. I see that in this beautiful monument.”

Yolanda Renee King, who never met her grandparents, said she and everyone else was challenged to “carry on” the couple’s “unfinished work.”

“This is the spirit we must keep when we commemorate (the King’s holiday),” said the 14-year-old to cheers from those present. “Let’s make it a great community service day; a day of brotherhood, a day of sisterhood; a day when you use your platform forever; a day of love and healing in the spirit of this wonderful monument.’

Designed by Hank Willis Thomas and the MASS Design Group and selected from 126 proposals, it was installed on Boston Common not far from where King led a rally in 1965

Designed by Hank Willis Thomas and the MASS Design Group and selected from 126 proposals, it was installed on Boston Common not far from where King led a rally in 1965

Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of EmbraceBoston, the organization behind the memorial, noted the importance of the sculpture’s placement on Boston Common, America’s oldest public park and a heavily trafficked area where millions of city residents and visitors stroll each year.

“I think Boston has a reputation for being that city of heroes and abolitionists, like WEB Du Bois and Frederick Douglass, along with a reputation for being unfriendly and being called racist in some cases. So there’s this tension between these two pictures of Boston. Having the memorial there is part of our intention to change the perspective of our city.”

The organization is also raising money to build an economic justice center in the city’s historically black neighborhood, where MLK preached.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11636413/MLK-Jr-statue-Boston-receives-mixed-reviews.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 MLK Jr. statue in Boston gets mixed reviews

Emma Colton

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