Yikin, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (2011), Washington DC

A lot of recent art has been very controversial, especially with the topic of street art. But what about contracted art pieces? Why is there controversy for getting what was expected? In celebration of the Civil Rights Movement, a U.S. organization commissioned a large statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This should not present issues given that most men and women in the United States regard Dr. King as a hero. The controversy comes from the idea that this art piece should be an American project, but both the Artist and medium (white granite) are Chinese. Black advocates “most notably African-American artist Gilbert Young, demanded that the memorial be created by an African-American artist with American stone.” A second controversy with this piece is that Dr. King is colored white which many people find to be offensive. Should any of these controversies matter given that Dr. King stood for equality for all, or should this piece be a symbol of the American spirit and be created with such morals?


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