State Department Spent 4.5 Million for Embassy Art, Had No Money for Benghazi Security

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Remember Benghazi only happened because the State Department had no money for security. And the military had no money for planes. And Obama had no money for his campaign and had to rush to Vegas to fundraise with Beyonce.

Things that the State Department did have money for? Mosque renovations, promoting environmental awareness in Baghdad, and 4.5 million for Art in Embassies.

The New York Times reported in 2009 that Art in Embassies spends about $4.5 million a year for permanent art acquisitions; chief curator Virginia Shore said at the time that artists and dealers support the program via favorable pricing; for the embassy in Beijing, an outlay of $800,000 yielded works with an appraised value of $30 million.

So… maybe we can sell some of that as a profit and pay for bodyguards. Or we could just hand out medals to the artists in exchange for favorable pricing. Yes, let’s do that.

On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts to five artists who have shown “an enduring commitment” to the effort: Jeff Koons, Cai Guo-Qiang, Shahazia Sikander, Kiki Smith and Carrie Mae Weems.

It’s the first time the award has been given – and its future will likely depend on whether Clinton’s successors want to make it a tradition.

Let’s make it a tradition. Even if we have to strip security from all our embassies in war zones. This stuff, unlike human life, is really important.

There is of course a certain irony in that Clinton ordered the arrest and imprisonment of the Mohammed filmmaker, but is now honoring “controversial” artists who may offend Christianity, but don’t offend Islam.

Like every regime, the Obama regime has artists that it honors and artists that it imprisons. And the artists that it hands out medals too, like their Soviet counterparts, are delegitimized by their placement as the pet artists of a repressive regime.

Kiki Smith, one of the artists honored by Secretary of State Clinton, offended Catholics with pieces such as, “Virgin Mary,” a female figure stripped of her skin, with her tissues and muscles exposed. Another exhibit features Mary Magdalene growing fur on her body.

If Kiki Smith had depicted Mohammed that way, she would be in hiding and maybe in prison, depending on how many embassies Muslims burned afterward. But since she depicted a religion that Obama and his cronies hate, she’s getting her art placed in embassies and getting a medal instead. That is how things work in repressive regimes.

And just as a reminder that this isn’t art, it’s regime propaganda, here’s one of the “paintings” from the Art in Embassies exhibit in Stockholm. “Paul Rusconi, Barack Obama, 2008.” Sold for $20,000. You can see it up above. The new symbol of America. But I offer my own “artistic” take on Rusconi’s piece. One that might be better representative of what America under Obama truly stands for.

  • Anamah

    Here is an other idea… We can sell our politicians to any of our friends over the world… if there is no position to fulfill they can use it as stuff on any open bureaucratic position. They will be surprise how much damage can they make, how much mess they can produce… how fast, perverse and lack of human values they are… They are good for the bad…

    • CurmudgyOneJr

      Too late … our politicians have already been sold.

  • Anamah

    (cont)… but very decorative in any embassy!!!

    • Mary Sue

      Why would they need art in the embassy? They're busy gazing into their navels all day long!

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "The New York Times reported in 2009 that Art in Embassies spends about $4.5 million a year for permanent art acquisitions; chief curator Virginia Shore said at the time that artists and dealers support the program via favorable pricing; for the embassy in Beijing, an outlay of $800,000 yielded works with an appraised value of $30 million."

    Oh come now. I'm sure this came out of NASA's budget anyway, so we'll just test the improvements in self-esteem to see if that mission was accomplished. And besides, even if NASA only wasted money elsewhere on revisionism about Islam, isn't the implicit policy of 0'Bama's administration to put Muslim self-esteem and religious feelings above all else both domestically and globally? Paying for guns, planes and ammunition would only help that when we give those things to Egypt or other "peaceful" 0'Bama buddies.

  • Mary Sue

    20 grand for that hunk of ___t? Well, there's no accounting for taste.

  • JacksonPearson

    When a pic is worth a thousand words:
    http://img44.imageshack.us/img44/4082/joking.jpg

  • http://twitter.com/Kenrick66 @Kenrick66

    I took a look at most of the art that's linked in this column, and much to my non-surprise, it's all disposable rubbish, incontestable junk, and pretentious artsy-fartsy crap that any trained chimpanzee could produce on a $1,000 spending spree in Lowe's to assemble the tools and the "medium." It's the same non- and anti-objective anti-art that is produced by alleged artists who get NEA grants and "fellowships" from the likes of the MacArthur and Guggenheim Foundations and other private cultural outfits. The art, however, reflects the "vision" of our Mideast policymakers: abstract, incomprehensible, and in defiance of reality.

    • fubar

      yep i agree.

      stated in the 45 communist goals to take over america?

      22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

      23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

  • john spielman

    Dear Mr. Greenfield: Please send this article to Bill OReilly at FOX NEWS. As a Catholic I'm sure he would appreciate it, especially the part where Hiliary Clinton awards Kiki Smith .

  • Bitter Clinger

    Remembering Zvi Mazel in Sweden, January 2004. http://www.zioneocon.blogspot.com/2004/01/israeli

  • Guest

    WE should be making duplicate images of Mohammed in Fur, and Mohammed stripped of his putrid flesh.

    • Guest

      Sure, as long as you don't mind being shoved into a police car in the middle of the night with a towel around your face.

  • Ghostwriter

    Great! They had money for art for the embassy but not for security. What a bunch of numbskulls.

  • riverboatbill

    I'm all for "Performance Art" at our embassies. This would involve heavily armed combat troops, tanks,etc. placed in and around the embassies,ready and able to perform their duties.

    • Lady_Dr

      I like your thinking!

  • Clare

    Daniel,

    I really like yours, it's just right. It's really arresting; as I look at it, I hear the words of Hillary, an evil rasp of a whisper, as she told the Dad at his son's funeral that the regime will get that person who made that video. This picture reveals the lie. Lurking, smiling, the destroyer seeking whom he may devour.

    The Devil despises the Virgin Mary.

    • Lady_Dr

      Clare,

      The Devil despises everyone and everything that is decent, good, or tries to be. Hillary is just about as vile as they get without the redeeming featureof of her husband: who just wants to get laid and have fun.