Hunter Biden’s ‘journey home’ art exhibit in SoHo appears to be a ‘sparsely atended’ flop
Amid criticism by Republicans that Hunter Biden’s novice artwork, displayed at the Georges Berges Gallery and priced between $75,000 and $500,000 could be purchased by people looking to curry favor with the president, the White House earlier issued assurances that it had an ethical arrangement with the gallery to prevent influence-peddling.
The much-anticipated exhibit of Hunter Biden’s paintings this week at the Georges Berges Art Gallery in SoHo has attracted a paltry trickle of visitors to date, reported the New York Post.
Furthermore, those who did stop by to glimpse at the novice artwork reportedly sporting price tags of between $75,000 and $500,000, mostly declined to identify themselves, claims the outlet. A handful of artists and industry professionals showed up for the private viewing of “The Journey Home — A Hunter Biden Solo Exhibition”, which opened on 23 October and is set to run until 15 November.
With Biden’s parents, US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill also a no-show at the West Broadway venue, Georges Berges, the art dealer who owns the gallery, said that it was “unfortunate” the White House couple couldn’t see their son’s work. ““It’s unfortunate that a father or mother can’t see his work, but it’s the times we live in and it’ll become a distraction,” he was quoted as saying by Artnet News.
Among the visitors earlier in the week was Gene Epstein, former senior economist at the New York Stock Exchange, accompanied by his artist wife Hisako Kobayashi – one of 19 artists represented by Berges, according to the gallery’s web site.
Bill Fine, president of Artnet online art resource and database, was also among the meagre stream of visitors to the controversial show that features 25 works on metal, canvas and Japanese Yupo paper.
“The artworks pulsate with colour, deep reds, ultramarine blues, and gold leaf… Most seem allegorical, steeped in mythology, symbolism, and personal history. Snakes twirl their bodies around totems,” according to Artnet News.
After 15 November, the exhibit will move to the Berges’ gallery in Berlin. “One of the things that I never anticipated was the political irrationality that people can have,” Weighing in on the controversy that Hunter Biden’s art show has been steeped in, Berges was cited by the outlet as saying:
“There are the blind, predetermined judgements, not just of Hunter, but of myself. If people objectively look at his work, it’s great work. And the majority of people they come in and they’re like, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect this!’”
The pricey debut artwork produced by the President’s second son, who never had any artistic background and was at a loss to secure a gallery to exhibit his works before 2020, has raised red flags for many critics. Hunter Biden’s name has been steeped in controversy throughout late 2020 as the November presidential elections pitted his father, former Vice-President Joe Biden against Donald Trump, who was seeking reelection.
The New York Post had published an exposé on the alleged unethical and potentially illegal influence peddling involving Joe Biden after damning emails were taken from a laptop supposedly abandoned by Hunter Biden at a Delaware repair shop.
The documents suggested that then-Vice President Biden met Vadym Pozharskyi, an executive from the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma, less than a year before Ukraine’s then-General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin was fired at the US VP’s request. Another batch of emails ostensibly threw light on an unspecified business venture with a Chinese firm and allocation of “20 [percent] for H[unter]” and “10 percent” for “the big guy,” with Hunter Biden’s former business associate Tony Bobulinski quoted by the media as saying the “big guy” referred to Joe Biden.
To compound matters, Hunter Biden faced a probe into his taxes by the Justice Department, launched as far back as 2018 and connected to suspicious foreign transactions. However, the Biden scandal was swept under the rug with the help of the media and Silicon Valley giants. Social media companies moved to restrict access to the “laptop from hell” story, while former US intelligence officials dismissed it as likely “Russian disinformation.”
At the start of his administration, newly-elected Democratic POTUS Joe Biden vowed to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest. The Democrats had lobbed a barrage of accusations against his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, whose daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, held White House adviser jobs.
“We’re going to run this like the Obama-Biden administration. No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy,” Biden told People magazine at the start of his tenure.
News of Hunter Biden’s burgeoning art career, complete with reports of price tags as high as $500,000 generated concernsthat people seeking to ingratiate themselves with the POTUS would be prepared to overpay for his son’s art.
In July, the First Son was quoted by the “Nota Bene: This Week in the Art World” podcast as saying he never set the prices.
“Look, man, I never set my prices — what my art was going to cost, what it costs or how much it would be priced at. I would be amazed, you know, if my art had sold at, um, you know, for $10,” he said.
The Post earlier revealed that Hunter Biden had already sold five paintings at $75,000 each – a fact that Georges Berges denied. Earlier in October, the White House insisted it had an infallible plan to prevent influence-peddling that required Berges to keep the identities of buyers of Hunter Biden’s artwork secret from the WH. However, critics denounced the plan as flawed because buyers’ names would surely be leaked publicly.