Why This New $10 Million-Dollar Statue in Boston is Raising Some Eyebrows
Things often look better on paper, or in this case, some would argue, the mind.
Created by artist Hank Willis Thomas, “The Embrace” cost approximately $10 million, and is meant to capture and memorialize the first date Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had with his wife, Coretta Scott King. The term “embrace” refers to arms of the Civil Rights leaders hugging for the first time, according to the New York Times.
The statue was unveiled just before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2023, and based on that description, you might be expecting a wonderful depiction of the Kings, as in their heads, faces, and full bodies.
Alas, this was not what crowds saw when the statue was unveiled…
If your reaction was, “What am I looking at, exactly?”...don't feel bad. You’re not alone.
It didn’t take long for people on social media to respond to the…innovative piece that doesn’t immediately convey two human beings hugging.
“Wait a damn minute” wrote one Twitter user. “I’m so confused. Why remove the head?!” added another.
“I’m not even going to say what I thought it was,” added a third. But one of Scott’s cousins was happy to elaborate, telling the New York Post that it “looks like a penis.”
“If you had showed that statute to anyone in the ’hood,” said Scott, “they’d have been like, ‘No, absolutely not.’”
Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott met in college, while the former earned his doctorate from Boston University and the latter was a singer at the New England Conservatory of Music.
The Boston connection checks out, but the artistic merit of The Embrace is left to the eye of the beholder. But if there’s one thing artists will tell you, sculptures can be tricky.