Friday, Jan.13, “The Embrace,” a 20-foot tall, 40-foot wide monument, made its debut on Boston Common, where King gave his speech on April 23, 1965, to a crowd of 22,000.
The statue, which Brooklyn-based conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas designed, drew inspiration from a photo of King and Scott King hugging each other after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
The headless monument only features the couple’s arms embracing each other, and it has drawn tremendous amounts of criticism from folks on Twitter and some members of the King’s family.
Many people call the statue hideous, while others point out that it looks like a sexual act is going down.
“If you can look at it from all angles, and it’s probably two people hugging each other, it’s four hands. It’s not the missing heads that’s the atrocity that other people clamp onto that; it’s a stump that looked like a penis. That’s a joke,” Scott said to CNN.
Martin Luther King III Likes The MLK Statue
On the other hand, the civil rights activist’s son, Martin Luther King III, said he was grateful for the statue that represents his parents’ love story and partnership, telling CNN’s Don Lemon he liked the monument.
“I think that’s a huge representation of bringing people together,” King told CNN. “I think the artist did a great job. I’m satisfied. Yeah, it didn’t have my mom and dad’s images, but it represents something that brings people together.”
“And in this time, day and age, when there’s so much division, we need symbols that talk about bringing us together,” he continued.
The Artist Defends His Work
During an appearance on CNN This Morning, Hill defended his work, saying his goal was to capture “the feeling of love” from the King’s relationship and has no plans of changing the statue.
“This is a piece that was selected by the people of Boston. This is not Hank just came and put something. Thousands of people worked on this, thousands of people actually put it together, and no one saw this, I would say, perverse perspective,” Thomas said.
He also points out that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Washington Monument were not instant hits, and “The Embrace” is another one of those situations.
Twitter is not trying to hear it and has let the jokes fly. You can see the reactions to the monument in the gallery below.
Photo: Boston Globe / Getty
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