A newly-unveiled statue in tribute to civil rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. has been met with mixed reviews by the public and other civil rights figures, with some saying the statue looks pornographic.
The new memorial sculpture, located on Boston Common, was revealed on Friday ahead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday. The sculpture is meant to depict two sets of arms embracing, and is fashioned in the image of a photograph of King and Coretta Scott King in 1964, embracing each other after King had been announced the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The reaction to the artwork, which was designed by artist Hank Willis Thomas, has ranged from admiration to mockery.
Spectators have noted that from most angles, the statue does not appear so much as two people embracing, but more like some other, less desirable images.
One Twitter user wrote, “A statue(of a giant turd?) has been unveiled in Boston.” Others have noticed the sculpture looks sexual from some angles, with one viewer pointing out, “Why TF does it look like someone’s getting orally pleasured?!”
A cousin of Coretta Scott King told CNN this week, “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.”
Thomas, the artist, appeared on CNN on Tuesday morning to respond to the commentary about his work, defending it and pointing out that it did not result only from his vision.
“This is a piece that was selected by the people of Boston,” Thomas said. “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.”
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