Unhappy With 'Confrontational' Image, U.S. Panel Wants King Statue Reworked





A powerful federal arts commission is urging that the sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. proposed for a memorial on the Tidal Basin be reworked because it is too "confrontational" and reminiscent of political art in totalitarian states.

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts thinks "the colossal scale and Social Realist style of the proposed statue recalls a genre of political sculpture that has recently been pulled down in other countries," commission secretary Thomas Luebke said in a letter in April.

By law, no project like the memorial can go forward without approval from the commission, the federal agency that advises the government on public design and aesthetics in the capital.

A model of the statue has been built in China. The project's chief architect, Ed Jackson Jr., huddled with advisers this week in Ann Arbor, Mich., to discuss ways to address the commission's objections before sculpting of the granite statue begins.

"We said: 'Okay, this is what the commission said. How best can we achieve that and retain what we have accomplished thus far?' "


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