Martin Luther King Sculpture Analysis

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Sculptures are a form of artwork that portray a certain message towards an audience at hand. The University of Texas at Austin holds the following two sculptures which remind us of the power of artistry: Martin Luther King, Jr (1999) and Blue Woman in Black Chair (1981). The former monument, by Ana Koh-Varilla and Jeffrey Varilla, stands in the East Mall and the latter, by George Segal, sits on the 2nd floor of the Blanton Museum. Both sculptures represent a distinct human figure yet, differ in their components in relation to their size/scale, subject matter and figure/drapery. Regarding size/ scale the Varillas create a larger than life sized bronze, figure placed on a sturdy pedestal, demonstrating the concept of authority and influence. This sculpture craves attention as is stands outside, on a concrete platform with four steps, facing each side of the detailed pedestal. This pedestal possesses quotes such as “I have a dream” and “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.” The Varillas utilize the platform as a means to echo and maintain the voice of Martin Luther King through present generations. Segal on the other hand, constructs a life-sized sculpture, sitting in a chair at eye-level. Even though The Blue Woman in a Black Chair sits on a small white platform, Segal does not encourage the action of movement to the extent that the Varillas encourage individuals to stroll around and embrace Mr. King’s figure.

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