Panel Rips MLK Statue, Says He Looks Like a Dictator

Fed commission calls 28-foot sculpture too much like totalitarian art
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2008 1:00 PM CDT
Lei Yixin shows off a model of a new Martin Luther King Jr. statue at his studio in Changsha, central China's Hunan province, 23 March 2007   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A federal arts panel is demanding changes to a colossal statue of Martin Luther King Jr. planned for the heart of Washington because commissioners think King looks too "confrontational," almost like a dictator, reports the Washington Post. The 28-foot-tall statue is to be the centerpiece of a 4-acre King memorial scheduled to be finished next year, but the panel has the clout to hold things up.

The statue was controversial to begin with when a Chinese sculptor known for his statues of Mao was picked instead of an American. The team behind the statue says its confrontational look isn't accidental. "We see him as a warrior for peace, not as some pacifist, placid, kind of vanilla, but a man of great conviction and strength," said a consultant involved in the project. They're trying to work out a compromise.