Guess what American icon this newly unveiled, giant sculpture on the Boston Common memorializes? Here are several angles…
Of course, it’s Dr. Martin Luther King! Didn’t you recognize him? Titled “The Embrace,” the artwork, which cost an estimated $10 million dollars, is supposed to represent King and his wife hugging each other in Boston when he learned of his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
Many seem to think the thing is not only an eyesore, but an arguably pornographic one. I know, I know, most public art is controversial, but that doesn’t mean, or shouldn’t, that anything goes. Who approved that? There are no better ways to spend ten million bucks? If an artwork is supposed to honor a person or an event, is it too much to ask that someone of reasonable intelligence should be able to discern what the hell a sculpture means without an explanation?
One virtue of the MLK memorial is that it makes the pretty awful one on the Washington Mall—
— seem like a Michelangelo by comparison.
In 2020, Boston removed its “Emancipation” sculpture, the Freedman’s Memorial
…which had been on display since 1879. It was considered by some to be politically incorrect, with the symbolic image of Abraham Lincoln freeing a kneeling former slave from his chains made some residents and visitors “uncomfortable,” 12,000 people signed a petition demanding the statue’s removal. So down it went.
I bet Boston can find at least 12,000 people who are made uncomfortable by “The Embrace.” Personally, it reminds me of the sandworms in “Beetlejuice.”