In Virtual Deity , our friend and writer Maureen Mullarkey reflects on the new memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. “Without a doubt, King is owed a memorial in the company of statesmen,” she writes. “But whether heand wedeserve this particular one is less clear.”
The byways and limited victories of historical reality are too many and too intricate for formal commemoration. This 4-acre memorial on the National Mall enshrines Kings iconic status in the American imagination and communal memory. In doing so, it necessarily erases the continuum of which he was part. Granted, monumental sculpture is intended to transpose into image those myths chosen to become artifacts of memorythat is its public function. Still, the grandiose aura of sanctity that informs the King memorial tilts toward idolatry. It carries a certain falsity, a hint of bathos, that speaks more poignantly of our own cultural moment than of his.
After you read this article, you will want to look at the articles Maureen has written for “On the Square”:
You will also want to look at her website , which includes both her own art work and her blog “Studio Matters.”