Remember the days when art was something to be looked upon with appreciation? In today’s world, it seems that each and every form of art fails to evoke inspiration or admiration as it once did. From film to architecture and everything in between, today’s works of public art put quality on the back burner and often accomplish nothing more than becoming the butt of jokes on the internet. Boston’s newest statue was no exception.
On Friday, Boston unveiled its tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King—a massive bronze statue titled “The Embrace.” The statue is said to be modeled after a famous photograph of the two Civil Rights leaders hugging after MLK received his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. For whatever reason, the designers of the monument decided to leave the heads and torsos of the two subjects out, turning what was a nice concept in theory into a colossal failure.
In no time, people responded to the absolute eyesore of a monument—criticizing the confusing design and sharing their understandable befuddlement over what it even was supposed to be. Twitter was ablaze over the weekend, with users noting that the statue looked like hands holding a penis or a giant turd. Many users joked that the monument should have immediately been covered back up after it was initially unveiled, which in my opinion, is exactly what should have been done.
While leftists on the internet want to pretend that the negative response is owing solely to racism or hatred for the Civil Rights movement, there was no color line separating the negative commentary. The statue received backlash from members of the black community, including from the family of Coretta Scott King.
Coretta Scott King’s cousin, Seneca Scott, spoke with the New York Post in response to the statue, calling out the mainstream media for “reporting on it like it was all beautiful, ’cause they were told they had to say that.” He continued: “If you had showed that statue to anyone in the ’hood, they’d have been like, ‘No, absolutely not.’”
He even wrote an entire piece for Compact, titled “A Masturbatory ‘Homage’ to My Family,” in which he notes the statue “looks more like a pair of hands hugging a beefy penis than a special moment shared by the iconic couple.”
Personally, the first thing I thought when I saw this photo was that it looked like the internet meme of somebody sticking his own head up his butt. As always, my opinion did not go over well with the woke activists who are defending the artwork—perhaps because they are exactly who I envisioned as the subjects of such a work.
One Twitter denizen replied that the images of the monument are purposefully misrepresenting it. “People who post this image instead of finding the best ones that are out there are mocking and doing MLK a disservice. The sculpture is rather amazing and quite an honor to his wife.” They accompanied the tweet with photos of the sculpture at the only angle where you can kind of tell what it is supposed to be.
Call me crazy, but I happen to think when someone is paid $10 million to design something of such magnitude and cultural significance, the “artwork” should at least be recognizable as what it was intended to be from more than just one angle. And to take it a step further, it should not look grotesquely phallic from every other angle. But maybe that’s just me.