U.S. Embassy Makes Olympic Rings

Jeff Koons, ‘Tulips,’ (2008). Bilbao, Spain

These big metallic tulips aren’t just going to be on view in Spain, where they are permanently installed along the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao‘s riverside façade, above. An edition of Tulips by Jeff Koons, as well as new work by Art:21 artists Louise Bourgeois, Cai Guo-Qiang, Martin Puryear, and Maya Lin are included on the checklist of 18 contemporary Chinese and American artists that will on view when the massive SOM-designed American embassy opens in Beijing, just before the start of the 2008 summer Olympics. Many of the pieces are either new commissions or site-specific works purchased by the State Department. According to The Art Newspaper, the State Department calculates the budget it will spend on art based on a new building’s square footage, and therefore $800,000 will be spent on art for the Beijing project — the largest sum ever splurged on a new US embassy.


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