MLK Memorial: Fails as sculpture and in every other way...

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First, the thing doesn't even look like Martin Luther King! From the facial construction, to the absence of the spirit of Martin Luther King, it fails. http://news.yahoo.com/public-gets-first-glimpse-king-memorial-145030966.html

That a Chinese sculptor wouldn't be able to capture a likeness of King is not surprising, but it is kinda surprising that an African-American design committee would fail to choose an African-American sculptor, rather than giving us yet another "made-in-China" product, using low-paid, Chinese labor.

And it looks like I'm not the only critic—from Wikipedia: "Gilbert Young, an African American artist known for a work of art entitled He Ain't Heavy, led a protest against the decision to hire Lei by launching the website King Is Ours, which demanded that an African American artist be used for the monument. Human-rights activist and arts advocate Ann Lau and American stone-carver Clint Button joined Young and national talk-show host Joe Madison in advancing the protest when the use of Chinese granite was discovered. Lau decried the human rights record of the Chinese government and asserted that the granite would be mined by workers forced to toil in unsafe and unfair conditions. Button argued that the $10 million in federal money that has been authorized for the King project required it to be subject to an open bidding process."

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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Funny how the American "open bidding" process seems to always end up sending money to China. As if the bidding process does nothing but consider the up front monetary cost and not the real cost of the bidding country's history of delivering shitty products. The bay bridge project leaps to mind as another failure of "open bidding" to provide a quality, cost effective result.

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D_NATURED
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Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm

Yes, and I am not convinced the open bidding process, nor art-via-committee, is capable of producing authentic art. One would have hoped to see authentic art for MLK, something that expressed his spirit in every way, including his ethical mind-set. But no....

It's good to have a monument, but it would have been nice if the thing resembled the man, rather than some black guy out there who has a tinge of the Chinese about him.

Martin deserved better.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I agree. What I saw on TV was a cheap, stylized version of the man looking sternly off into the distance. It neither made me think of the hope nor the inspiration Doctor King represented and looked like it had been sculpted in a short timeframe from a photo with no input from anyone who personally met the man (Jessie Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton... etc.) The whole thing rings hollow in my opinion.

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hodenkat
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Jul. 21, 2011 12:00 pm

The stance chosen by the sculptor is all wrong too. For one thing, the body language of arms crossed across the chest, as they are on the sculpture, expresses arrogance and a closed, unloving psychology. Certainly, his stance and expression do not express hope.

It shouldn't be a surprise, though, given the current state of schooling in the arts.

Imagine the surprise had they commissioned this artist, and let the chips fall where they may: Ron Mueck

Or better yet, African American sculptor Eddie Dixon. Also here: http://www.utexas.edu/diversity/barbarajordan/finalists/dixon.html

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I was disappointed in Democracy Now!'s discussion of the MLK monument this morning. I expect Democracy Now! to exercise a more "critical" approach to any subject, that is, look into whether controversy surrounds the subject. But this time they let me down: they glossed over the controversy in favor of deluded praise for the thing.

Medea Benjamin covered some related details regarding the King memorial far better, today, here: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/26 DN! should have had her on the show.

The monument is a sham. It is in fact nothing more than a propaganda effort calculated to keep us in the fog of illusion. The only way to truly honor Martin Luther King is to recognize the utter failure of our nation to live by and for his message.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It was made by the Chinese what do you expect ?

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Lon-Paul
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Jul. 26, 2011 1:12 pm
Quote Lon-Paul:

It was made by the Chinese what do you expect ?

...Made in China, funded by FedEx, General Motors, GE, PepsiCo, ExxonMobil. Follow the money.

Dr. King and the liberation movement he represents will again suffer a brutal blow this week when all are permanently entombed under the violent euphemism of “memorial.” The dedication of this $120 million stone sculpture is to be a national tribute to a man whose entire body of work was designed to destroy the very structure that now claims to honor him. It is no honor. It is a burial. The very entities against which the movement that produced King have struggled for centuries have now attached themselves to him as if to claim victory over, rather than along with, that man and that movement. This memorial should be seen as the hostile, disingenuous aggression against Dr. King that it is and should continue to be a reminder of the absolute absence of sincere change in this society. http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/corporate-king-memorial-and-burial-movemen

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

That work of art(for the rulers) was a second assassination of MLK. Zen,i agree with your posts,i would add,the way the whole thing was done,it plays right into the "divide & conquer" tactic.We need art work of Chamber of Commerce going to "Hell".

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tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Yes, tayl, and I like your idea—the Chamber of Commerce in Hell, a lá Hieronymus Bosch, maybe? Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights comes to mind, Third Panel: (third picture down on the page)

I would also like to see a memorial to martyrs for justice, such as Civil Rights Martyrs and activists whose lives were lost to injustice, including “ordinary” Americans, such as Rachel Corrie who died standing up —literally— for the Palestinian people.

Then we could establish a monument for martyrs who may not have lost their lives, but who lost their freedom, or reputations, and put themselves in harm's way for the sake of justice. I’m thinking here of whistleblowers, such as Bradley Manning.

None of that will happen, of course—mustn't honor resistance, except to twist it for your own purposes, such as in the MLK memorial.

The Martin Luther King statue in D.C. needs a carved notice in the back, down in the lower left corner: “Made in China.” Add that, and you have art.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Zen,we`re on the same page,i posted last Memorial Day, we should honor all who die for bettering the human cause.Like a Rachel Corrie,these people deserve more honor than a soldier,a soldier die for a country,Rachel die for "justice".Mr Bradley Manning is still with us,but he is living death for "justice".I would change one thing in your post,carve notice on back of MLK statue "Make in Chamber of Horrors/Commerce".Thanks for picture/link,it`s scary, but for those that have sold their soul. Another way of looking at it,they are making the world that living hell.

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tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I would love to sit down with you all in a public forum and tell you the tale of this monument. All you really know is what has been presented in the media, but over the past 7 years there has been a federal investigation, we've share a bottle of wine with Isaac Farris and heard the woes of the civil rights icons, we've been interviewed and threatened, and we've been schooled on the fears inherent in our people. Fears of bucking a system that "might" offer them a paycheck one day. There are many points to make. A few of them are these:

1) The federal investigation we called for resulted in a report that took us two years to receive after numerous requests through the Freedom of Information Act. Much of the report was redacted to protect those who had perpetrated this obscenity on the National Mall. We discovered that Yixin was a single source award. There was no competition or selection process involved in choosing him as Artist of Record though multiple media reports stated that a panel of mostly African Americans had selected him as the best of the best presented. 2) We discovered that though $10 million in federal funds was allocated to the monument, the project organizers would never be able to claim it, because most of the project was not subject to an open bid process, thus violating the Buy America Act. That's why the public kept getting the "we need more $$" emails. Most of the project was doled out to allies and friends, and millions were spent on "consultants" who happen to be the talking heads of the black community.

3) We discovered that Ed Dwight, the first African American astronaut was the original artist of record, but since he works in bronze a sub-contractor was sought to create the monument from Dwight's maquette; an artist who works in stone. The sub-contractor was Yixin, who was supposed to remain anonymous. When Dwight critiqued Yixin's first model with a 13 page report, siting many of the complaints now being published, Dwight was kicked to the curb and Yixin was named artist of record. This is where the politics of the monument began and where the decision was made to use Chinese granite, the Communist/atheist artist, and stone quarried from the ground using workers who made $2 per day.

All of this made me crazy, but when Isaac Farris confirmed that the family was appalled to learn slave labor was used to pull granite that would be carved into his uncles face, I felt a little hope. But he went further. He said too much money was on the table, and the train was going too fast now to stop. In other words, there was no new "Dr. King" ready to stand up and say the word NO.

My problem with this whole situation does not lie with those who are afraid to stand up and say "If not this monument, WHEN." My problem lies in the fact that we as a people are the only race on this planet who do not consider it imperative to be allowed to present our history as we see it. We do not demand to be able to tell our own story, we do not believe our children's children will be affected by our lack of self love. We do not understand that every other culture on this planet takes pride in who they are and where they have been and how their history has impacted EVERY other culture on this planet. We are a magnificent people. And we deserved the right to present this monument to the world. That four acres on the National Mall was meant to be a place where we staked our claim as African Americans. Instead there is as monstrous rendition of Dr. King representing the best of the People's Republic of China, a country with one of the worst human rights and civil rights records on the planet. Is this a fitting monument to our leader? You tell me.

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gyoungone
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Sep. 2, 2011 5:11 pm

Thank you, gyoungone, for your eloquent comment, throughout, but especially:

"We are a magnificent people. And we deserved the right to present this monument to the world. That four acres on the National Mall was meant to be a place where we staked our claim as African Americans. Instead there is as monstrous rendition of Dr. King representing the best of the People's Republic of China, a country with one of the worst human rights and civil rights records on the planet."

So well said.

What can we do?

I can understand why Jesse Jackson and many other African Americans would wish to ignore the ironies gyoungone mentions, not least of which would be the list of corporate donors to the project (GE, General Motors, Wal-Mart, to name a few.), saying the important thing is to use the memorial as a starting point, to begin to make progress toward MLK's dream. I can understand it. I can understand how, after such oppression and exploitation and second-class treatment, many African Americans might be vulnerable to an offering, no matter how clumsy, of a rightful place in history for Martin Luther King. You can see the monument —if you squint— as an acknowledgement of the wounds caused by such racism.

But what galls me is that it does not do justice to his memory, his gifts, nor his message. And, ultimately, the powers-that-be know damn well they have no intention of allowing the changes Martin envisioned to come to fruition. It's an offering, all right, but it's an offering to buy silence and calm. "Be still. And here's your reward for being silent."

What can we do?


Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Gyoungone,Thank you very much for your post and work. Don`t stop,we the people can create a better more rewarding memorial and one that honor all who have die for a better world,these devils don`t have to have the last laugh. Zenzoe,does this answer your question,"What can we do"?

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tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Sure, tayl. Good thought.

Just between you and me, I was half hoping the earthquake last month would crumble the memorial. Then they would have had to do it over again, but properly. I'd like to see bronze.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Zen,i hear you,but if the earthquake had destroy it,you can bet they would do a worse replacement. These criminals have no shame or care.That`s why we have to do things ourselfs,God help those that help themselfs.The rulers are sure looking out for themselfs,we have to do likewise!

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tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Why Bannon Is Out

With Steve Bannon's White House days officially over, could Trump himself soon end up on the chopping block?

Just in case you haven't heard the big news - Steve Bannon is OUT at the White House.

Depending on who you ask - the now-former White House strategist was either fired or handed in his resignation a few weeks ago, and left earlier today.

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