Column: Hunter Biden is trading on the family name — again

Abcarian: Hunter Biden is trading on the family name — again (via @latimesopinion)

6/23/2021 1:33:00 PM

Abcarian: Hunter Biden is trading on the family name — again (via latimesopinion)

He got sober and got married, and now he has become a full-time artist. But is he any good?

PrintAfter a months-long residence in the bohemian heart of Los Angeles — Venice Beach — the artist known as Hunter Biden has moved somewhere “up the coast.”At his new house,, he is now painting in a converted three-car garage with a brick floor and skylights.

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Biden, the youngest and only surviving son of President Biden, has found a new career.In what I suppose is an effort to earn a living without politically compromising his father, he has turned what he describes as a lifelong passion — art — into a job.

Advertisement“Working on canvas, metal and Japanese Yupo paper, Biden’s artworks are often layered, with elements of photography, painting, collage and poetry,” Artnet’s Katya Kazakina wrote last week. “Some are geometric abstractions, filled with patterns and somewhat hallucinogenic. Others depict trees, leaves, and body parts like outstretched arms.” headtopics.com

His New York-based art dealer, Georges Bergès, who has been working with Biden for more than a year, has said he will hold a private showing for Biden this fall at an undisclosed location in Los Angeles, followed by a private exhibition in New York. Bergès has said prices for Biden’s artwork will range from $75,000 to $500,00 for large-scale paintings.

But are they any good?Does it really matter?And does selling the artworks have the potential to compromise Hunter’s father?As is often the case with art at this level, the identity of buyers will not be disclosed, leading not just his father’s political enemies, but also ethics experts and some of Biden’s allies to speculate about whether this is just the latest example of Hunter exploiting the family name for profit.

“The notion of a president’s son capitalizing on that relationship by selling art at obviously inflated prices and keeping the public in the dark about who’s funneling money to him has a shameful and grifty feel to it,” Walter Shaub, who was director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under President Obama,

told Fox News.“Just as hotel charges and real estate purchases created a risk of unknown parties funneling money to the Trump family for potentially unsavory purposes, Hunter Biden’s grotesquely inflated art prices create a similar risk of influence-seekers funneling money to the Biden family.” headtopics.com

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AdvertisementI don’t disagree with Shaub’s assessment. I find no record of Biden pledging to give the profits from his artwork to charity, which would help remove any stench from this commercial venture.Reaction to Biden’s work has been — predictably — a mixture of curiosity and derision.

New York magazineart critic Jerry Saltzdescribed Biden’s work to Artnet as “Generic Post Zombie Formalism illustration.” Art critic Scott Indrisek suggested the work is suitable for a dermatologist’s waiting room.“I guess it’s important that wounded men of a certain age and privileged background have the opportunity to find themselves creatively,” Indrisek told Artnet. “It’s just too bad everyone else is expected to pay attention.”

AdvertisementThe Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic, Christopher Knight, told me he has seen only reproductions of Biden’s work, and hesitates to weigh in. However, he said, he was reminded of another public figure-turned-artist. “He’s no George W. Bush,” said Knight, who was underwhelmed by the 43rd

president’s artwork, “so that’s something.”Artnet News’ critic Ben Davis was quoted as saying the paintings seem to be an allegory for Biden’s life: “It sees like he’s trying to occupy his mind … trying to fill up the empty space and to make some structure out of a mess.” headtopics.com

::I never actually saw Biden while he lived on North Venice Boulevard next to the Grand Canal, but I certainly was aware of his presence in my neighborhood.AdvertisementEvery day, Secret Service agents sat in three unmarked cars parked nose-to-tail in front of the house, half a block from a dozen tents on Pacific Avenue. With their ear wires, short hair and staid clothing, let’s just say they stuck out.

It always seemed curious to me that someone like Biden, who wrote candidly about his crack cocaine and alcohol addiction in his memoir “Beautiful Things,” would post up a block from the beach, which is, at the current unfortunate moment, an open-air drug market speckled with homeless encampments. After all, he boasted in the book, his “superpower” was sussing out drugs anywhere, anytime.

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opinion You’re surprised to find corruption in government? 😱 opinion 'The Times’ art critic, Christopher Knight...said, he was reminded of another public figure-turned-artist. 'He’s no George W. Bush,' said Knight, who was underwhelmed by the 43rd president’s artwork, 'so that’s something.'' opinion opinion Leave Hunter Biden alone

LoriRennie opinion Distraction opinion Arrest him...oh, wait. Didn't the Trump's engage in equally as shameful behavior? opinion I was just wondering when the morons would start bringing Hunter up again. And here it is again🙄 opinion As if being an artist who makes money ever relied of being talented... At least he doesn't steal from children with cancer and the people who buy his art obviously loves it enough to give money. Win-Win!

opinion Really? Haven't heard a word about him until your faux-outrage headline. Meanwhile, Donald & family doing nothing but trading on the family name and have done nothing but that for their entire lives. opinion Lol every reply is about the last president and his family. Not sure how or why people want him relevant still and can't address the article.

opinion Weird that people will buy his art after knowing that he’s an actual racist. People on tv get fired for much less.

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opinion I won’t do any “what about-isms” with you, because I hate it when people do it. But this carries forth the GOP attempt to cast aside the sins of the former guy and his family by focusing on the family of a public servant whose son has made mistakes. I am sick of it. 😡 opinion If what he is doing is illegal in anyway, let’s know how. And by the way, if it is, why is the entire Trump family not in prison. Opinion my foot.

opinion opinion Irresponsible journalism. Glad I don't subscribe anymore. opinion Why can't he be more like the Trump children.... Oh right. opinion JFC opinion WTF, LATimes?! THIS is your journalistic 'opinion piece' on Hunter Biden - because he's selling his art? Art, since the beginning of time, is market-driven in value. There's no rhyme or reason to that. Don't ascribe it to a Biden Hard breaking news. Obviously.

opinion Trump Jr is selling $500 video clips of himself. Where is the outrage for trading on the Trump name? opinion Sorry… after the last guy appointed his family in positions of high ranking… y’all can shut the hell up. Nice season is over. opinion 👁️

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opinion & Trump children didn't opinion And Trump did this. And Clinton did this. And ...... Nothing ever changes

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