Nyet to Comrade Martin

Nyet to Comrade Martin

It’s pitchforks and torches outside the genteel U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; Revolution is in the air. That will teach federal agencies to attempt art history lessons for the masses.

The Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial project has entered a new phase of its troubled history. The Commission oversees art and architecture in much of the District of Columbia, and is the guardian of the Tidal Basin site reserved for the King statue. Michael E. Ruane’s front-page article in today’s Washington Post alerted the proletariat that the Commission’s April 17th meeting reviewed the latest statue design and found its “Socialist Realist” style and “colossal scale” to be “unfortunate and inappropriate.” On-line comments on the Post article indicate that many readers are unaware of the Stalinist and totalitarian origins and associations of the style.

More tellingly, it appears that the project’s sponsors have rushed the statue into execution without the “regular periodic review of drawings, material samples, maquettes, mock-ups, and inspection of the work in the artist’s studio” customary for sculpture slated for the Capital’s “Monumental Core.” That would be slightly more difficult in this case, since the sculptor, Lei Yixin, is executing the piece in Changsha, China.

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation submitted a vastly different preliminary design, on a smaller scale, with Dr. King’s likeness emerging from the “Stone of Hope.” The statue is the focal point of the four acre memorial site. Read the Commission’s letter here.

Earlier issues with this project involved bitter allegations of irregularities in the Memorial Foundation’s methods in selecting the preliminary design and sculptor, and the “outsourcing” of the actual work to China.

Incidentally, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a federal agency, should not be confused with Washington’s local D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The latter is a world-renowned authority on fiberglass pandas.

 Image by Tovarich Mike Licht. Download it here, Comrade. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, Notions Capital.com

One Response to “Nyet to Comrade Martin”

  1. MLK Made in China « odd little rants Says:

    […] Nyet to Comrade Martin (wordpress.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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