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August 9 2016

State Department Spends $185,000 for "Artwork" Consisting of 98 Balls of Yarn

Charlotte Allen

Forget that $640 toilet seat!

Now, our tax dollars are going for something even pricier: the $1,888 yarn-ball.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

The State Department doled out six figures for one piece of art made out of balls of thread, to be displayed in an embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan....

The State Department spent $185,000 for “Lares and Penates,” a 9.5 foot by 9.5 foot fiber installation by Sheila Hicks, according to a government contract signed in April.

The piece is made up of 98 balls of thread.

In case you're having a hard time wrapping your head around the idea that "98 balls of thread" can either: 1) be worth $185,000; or 2) be right up there with the Mona Lisa--well, that shows how much you know about art, dumbo!

Here's the skinny on the work itself:

“Rather than a sense of constriction, the various sized pieces are like precious small gifts, hiding happy mysteries,” writes the art blog “Studio and Garden.” “Lares and Penates are Roman deities who protected the household. We might see these small pieces as votive objects, made with a kind of prayerful attention in the repetitive motions of wrapping.”

And here's the skinny on the artist:

Hicks is a contemporary fiber artist from Hastings, Nebraska. She now splits time between Paris and New York. Hicks has work displayed in museums all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Seoul Art Center in Korea.

“Pioneering fiber artist Sheila Hicks blurs the boundary between painting and sculpture with her vibrant woven and textile works, which she creates in many shapes and sizes, from wall mountings that mimic the format of painting to suspended pieces that hang from ceiling to floor like textured columns,” writes Artsy, an online database of contemporary art.

The New York Post doesn't know much about art or "blurring the boundaries between painting and sculpture," either. It calls Hicks' fiber-art piece "a giant cat toy."

Talk about phillistinism! The Post's editorial board writes:

After all, it’ll be on display in an embassy just rebuilt for $699 million with the most cutting-edge “green” amenities — low-flow faucets and a design that’s meant to “minimize the use of electricity throughout the day,” according to Ambassador David Hale.

Yes, all spent by a State Department that routinely moans about Congress’ underfunding of its overseas needs.

And it’s dropping all this cash to show off American hipness in . . . Pakistan, a third- world nation full of conservative (and then some) Muslims.

My own feeling is that instead of spending $1,888 apiece for 98 dinky little yarn-balls, the State Department should have installed "the world's largest ball of twine" in the Islamabad embassy. There are several contenders, and they're all big, like 8 feet in diameter.

Now that's something that would impress the locals!

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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