New US embassy in Islamabad to get $400,000 camel sculpture

Officials explained the decision to purchase such an expensive art piece for the embassy through a four-page document.


Web Desk March 31, 2014
Another copy of “Camel Contemplating a Needle” is on display at Hall Wines in Napa Valley, California. PHOTO: HALL VINES

The US State Department is planning to spend $400,000 in taxpayer funds to buy a sculpture for the new American embassy being built in Islamabad, according to Buzzfeed.com.

The sculpture titled “Camel Contemplating Needle” is the work of American contemporary artist John Baldessari and it depicts a life-sized white camel made of fiberglass staring at an over-sized threading needle.

Officials explained the decision to purchase such an expensive art piece for the embassy through a four-page document by saying: “This artist’s product is uniquely qualified. Public art which will be presented in the new embassy should reflect the values of a predominantly Islamic country.”

In a statement, State Department press spokesperson Christine Foushee said the proposed purchase comes from the department’s “Office of Art in Embassies.” In new construction projects, she said, a small part of the total funds, about 0.5%, is spent on art purchases.

Steven Beyer of Beyer Projects, the art dealer for the project, said the government reached out. “They approached us,” he said. “We were, of course, quite surprised.”

The $400,000 price tag “is actually a very a reduced price for this sculpture,” he said. “There is an art market that makes these prices, and this is one of the most prominent American artists.”

Another copy of “Camel Contemplating a Needle” is on display at Hall Wines in Napa Valley, California.

COMMENTS (20)

Naz | 7 years ago | Reply

Welcome to Al-Bakistan..... why d owe need camels to represent Pakistan. We have better things in Pakistani soil... its history , it s culture that can represent Pakistaniat...

A camel is more of Arabia and dustyr sandy desert.....But one thing for sure.its mocking at Pakistanis.... however hard Pakista( camel) tries, it can never get via the american eye( of the needle)

truthbetold | 7 years ago | Reply

It would be a more appropriate picture if the sculpture also has the statue of an Arab sheik sitting on the camel!

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