White House press secretary Jen Psaki could not identify Thursday any “procedures” to ensure Hunter Biden’s “art” sales to “anonymous” investors at up to $500,000 are ethical.
“Are there any specific procedures, you can tell us, that are being put in place to ensure these conversations remain, as you say, not about the sales?” a reporter asked.
“Will he get ethics training, will he have to report afterwords about the conversations — anything specific you can tell us about you are monitoring” the sale of art?
Psaki regurgitated a frequent response, ignoring the reporter’s direct question by suggesting Hunter “is not involved in the sale or discussions about the sale of his art,” and that Hunter will not be “informed” of “who is purchasing his art.”
The White House’s omission of any procedures to protect against Hunter Biden potentially abusing his proximity to the President comes as art critics have scoffed at Hunter’s newest ploy to obtain money.
Senior Art Critic Jerry Saltz on Friday said, “imagine” if Donald Trump Jr. “made little watercolors” like Hunter Biden’s “art” and “sold them at an iffy commercial gallery for upwards of $150,000.” He then underscored:
Now imagine all the foreign agents, fishy businessmen, lobbyists, politicos buying the work & back room deals. The potential for conflict of interest is enormous & dangerous. Do what Republican war-monger George W. Bush did. Make your work; show it at a non-profit; no sales.
Artnet News’s national art critic Ben Davis wrote the headline, “Hey Hunter Biden, Here’s a Radically Simple Solution for All Your Art Woes: Don’t Sell Your Work,” with the subtitle, “If Hunter Biden wants his art to be received outside a political black box, his best bet is not to sell it.”
The Washington Post even published a parity piece to mock Hunter’s newfound ability as “the talent of one of America’s most celebrated painters, Hunter Biden.”
“Biden’s virtuosic work has earned him critical acclaim from around the world, and his art would be the perfect decorative touch for any oligarch’s palace in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and beyond,” the Post continued in jest, apparently.
In reality, however, Hunter’s art dealer, George Bergès, maintains “strong ties to China,” which coincides with Hunter Biden’s “business interests in a billion-dollar Chinese investment firm,” while his father served as vice president.
Bergès and his art gallery also have a troubled past in which Bergès was reportedly sued for fraud and breach of contract in 2016 by an investor in his gallery, filed for personal bankruptcy, and was arrested in California and “charged with assault with a deadly weapon and ‘terrorist threats,’ according to public records from the Santa Cruz Police Department.”
The checkered history of the art dealer, however, is apparently overcome by his singular character.
The art world was notified July 8 that Bergès will referee any sale of the “artwork” and withhold “all records, including potential bidders and final buyers.”
Bergès “also agreed to reject any offer that he deems suspicious or that comes in over the asking price, according to people familiar with the agreement,” the Post expounded.
But Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), explained, “Their solution of transparency is to actually hide who is engaged in the transaction. It’s ludicrous.”
Money laundering, moreover, was identified as an issue in the art world, according to the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations last year.
“Secrecy, anonymity, and a lack of regulation create an environment ripe for laundering money and evading sanctions,” the committee said. “Given the intrinsic secrecy of the art industry, it is clear that change is needed in this multi-billion dollar industry.”
Hunter is expected to attend two art shows this fall in which he will be present to meet the anonymous investors. When Hunter was asked what his father might think of his new found occupation, Hunter replied, “My dad loves everything that I do, and so I’ll leave it at that.”
Author: WENDELL HUSEBØ