What changed? Manhattan art gallery abruptly cancels public viewing of Hunter Biden's art

Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP

Hunter Biden’s latest grift, er, career as an artist is not exactly off to a strong start. Besides the obvious ethical challenges for the son of a sitting president offering his artwork for sale, Hunter’s gallery showings are under scrutiny. Who is buying his artwork and are the purchases just meant to buy favor with the Big Guy?

Hunter’s first art show in Los Angeles, where he lives, was attended by a few celebrities and people described as “conservatively wealthy”. Five pieces were sold for $75,000 each. That’s the low-end stuff. His prices go up to $500,000. It was reported that the art was sold prior to the opening on October 1. At the time, a gallery show was scheduled for November in Manhattan but it was said to have been moved to the spring.

However, as one assistant said, Hunter’s gallery shows are “fluid” events. His art is on display at Georges Berges Gallery in Manhattan. The public isn’t allowed to view the art, though the gallery was scheduled to open to the public yesterday. When a New York Post reporter showed up on Thursday, an employee said, “Sorry. Things are very fluid and things have changed.” It will be appointment-only for the remainder of the show.”

A party was held Wednesday to celebrate the art show but none of Hunter’s pieces were sold. The group of party-goers was reported to be about 60 people, included his aunt, Valerie Biden Owens, Joe’s younger sister. His wife and two of his older children were there. One art critic, Donald Kuspit, was quoted as saying, “It really had nothing to do with money.” It was just a social event.” Yeah, ok.

Only a limited number of people have been allowed into the gallery to see the art. Privacy was a high priority for the party, apparently.

Curtained vestibules were installed outside of the gallery’s front door while curtains blocked views from the windows.

A pair of secret service agents kept an eye on Biden during the outing, as did private security and a K-9.

By Thursday, Biden, his wife, and their young son checked out of their hotel. For all the privacy measures, a videographer was spotted filming Biden and his family, including his daughter Maisy.

Curtains hung in the storefront windows kept outsiders from observing the event, although a videographer was spotted recording Hunter Biden and his family, along with daughter Maisy Biden, get escorted inside by gallery owner Georges Berges on Wednesday evening.

A two-person video crew also recorded the scene as Hunter Biden and his wife left around 9 p.m.

Last month, Mother Jones reported that a documentary crew roamed around the earlier opening of Hunter Biden’s art show in Los Angeles and the Daily Mail posted a video clip that showed a camera operator standing on a pedestal and another wearing a portable rig.

It’s unclear who’s behind the planned documentary and when or how it’s set for release.

When the question of ethics first surfaced, the White House brushed them aside saying that an agreement had been worked out that Hunter (and the Big Guy) wouldn’t know who purchased his paintings. If buyers remained anonymous, the White House reasoned, then Hunter’s daddy wouldn’t know who was supporting his son. Therefore, no special introductions or meetings would find themselves on Biden’s calendar. Right. All of this assumes that no one has read stories about the utter corruption of the Biden family, often referred to as Biden Inc. The Big Guy always gets 10%. Hunter, specifically, is a world-class grifter, living off the family name.

Ethics experts, including a prominent Democrat, have trashed the idea of Hunter selling artwork now.

“There is no ethics program in the world that can be built around the head of state’s staff working with a dealer to keep the public in the dark about the identities of individuals who pay vast sums to the leader’s family member for subjectively priced items of no intrinsic value,” Walter Shaub, who ran the US Office of Government Ethics under then-President Barack Obama, wrote last month in a since-deleted tweet.

I guess when Shaub came under fire from Biden supporters for speaking the truth, he deleted his tweet.

Does anyone, except maybe his wife, think that Hunter is being given the up-and-coming budding artist treatment because of anything other than his last name? And, now a documentary? He’s carrying on the family tradition of cashing in on his father’s political career. That’s why the Big Guy gets 10%.

Rep. James Comer wrote an opinion piece for Fox News earlier this week. He said that Americans deserve to know what is going on with Hunter’s artwork.

People can spend their money as they wish, but when dealing with the son of the sitting president, it begs the question who – and why – anyone would pay top dollar for items that are arguably worthless?

Foreign agents – and others – have obvious incentives to access Hunter Biden, and through him the Oval Office. And as we know, Hunter Biden has previously sought to peddle influence and access to his powerful father. Bergès has expressed his desire to be the “lead guy” in China for art, and his gallery is now covered by the Chinese media. Rather than plying patrons with free drinks and passed hors oeuvres, perhaps Bergès is offering a chance at something else.

This is not a problem Republicans are prepared to just chalk up to Hunter being Hunter. We intend to examine a president’s family member with a history of suspicious activity who is now engaging in an industry rife with criminal potential.

This is a potential national security issue with major ramifications for how this White House confronts a rival foreign power. Foreign adversaries, including China, have used transactions involving sham art sales to launder money and evade sanctions imposed by the United States. Art sold at inflated prices can easily be moved across borders and cash is often an accepted form of payment, which makes it challenging to track down who bought the art and where it is going.

He said House Republicans have called on the Bergès Gallery to provide documents and communications outlining its deal with the White House to keep Hunter Biden’s patrons anonymous. That request has been ignored, shocking, I know. Will anything happen? Not while Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House.