The average Pakistani makes $1,250 per year. The U.S. State Department is about to spend $400,000 on a plastic statue of a camel. Staring at a needle. For its new embassy in Pakistan. Is it just me?
The work, by noted American artist John Baldessari, depicts a life-size white camel made of fiberglass staring in puzzlement at the eye of an oversize shiny needle — a not-so-subtle play on the New Testament phrase about the difficulty the wealthy have in entering the kingdom of heaven.
Officials explained the decision to purchase the piece of art, titled “Camel Contemplating Needle,” in a four-page document justifying a “sole source” procurement.
“This artist’s product is uniquely qualified. Public art which will be presented in the new embassy should reflect the values of a predominantly Islamist country. (Like the Bible, the Qur’an uses the metaphor of a camel passing through the eye of a needle.)
This latest purchase comes on the heels of a similar purchase in December when the Department shelled out over $1 million for what amounts to a pile of rocks for its new embassy in London.
Irrespective of the religious message that may or may not be intended by the statue, should the U.S government be in the business of using taxpayer dollars to buy expensive works of art for its embassies in foreign countries?
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