Charles Dharapak / AP
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is seen Monday, Aug. 22, 2011 in Washington, ahead of its dedication on Aug. 28.
Public art can be difficult. Artists and funding organizations are never going to please everyone. I remember the controversy when the Vietnam Memorial was built. Opponents blasted the design as “a black gash of shame.” Many veterans voiced displeasure.
However, time has shown how powerful Maya Ying Lin’s design was. The Vietnam Memorial receives over 3 million visitors each year and has become something of national shrine.
Controversy also accompanied the MLK Memorial unveiling today in Washington D.C. Critics are upset that the work of a Chinese artist was chosen. They say MLK’s 30-foot likeness is too confrontational and appears too Asian.
MLK’s son, Martin Luther King III, told USA TODAY that he likes the statue."I've seen probably 50 sculptures of my dad, and I would say 47 of them are not good reflections — that's not to disparage an artist," King said. "This particular artist — he's done a good job."
The memorial is scheduled for dedication on Aug. 28 which will coincide with the anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Jacquelyn Martin / AP
The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is unveiled during the soft opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington.
A memorial dedicated to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. opened to the public Monday in Washington, D.C. Reverend Jesse Jackson, who knew and worked with King in the civil rights movement, discusses the memorial with msnbc's Thomas Roberts and says King still has "unfinished business."