is expected to meet with prospective buyers at two art shows where his paintings will be on display later this year, according to a spokesperson for the New York gallery retained to sell art made by the president’s son.
The shows, a small, private affair in Los Angeles and a larger exhibition in New York City, will give Biden an opportunity to interact with potential buyers of his paintings, which the gallery expects to sell for as much as $500,000.
Asked whether Hunter Biden would attend both events, Georges Berges Gallery spokeswoman Robin Davis said, “Oh yes. With pleasure. He’s looking forward to it. It is like someone debuting in the world. And of course he will be there. “
Davis also said that at the two art shows “everyone will be vetted…so, whomever is appropriate will be attending.”
Hunter Biden’s appearance at the shows, where he’ll presumably socialize with potential buyers, is seemingly at odds with an agreement struck with the gallery owner that aims to keep buyers’ identities secret from Biden, President Biden, the White House, and the public.
Some government ethics experts have expressed concerns buyers could purchase Hunter Biden’s art to gain influence with his father, Mr. Biden. Keeping the buyers anonymous is meant to guard against that.
“Well, I think it would be challenging for an anonymous person who we don’t know and Hunter Biden doesn’t know to have influence,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a recent press briefing. “So that’s a protection.”
In response to questions about Hunter Biden attending the gallery events with potential buyers, White House spokesman Andrew Bates pointed to a July 8th statement which said, “The president has established the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history, and his family’s commitment to rigorous processes like this is a prime example.”
A source familiar with the matter told CBS News Hunter Biden will not discuss potential purchases, prices, or anything related to the selling of artwork.
But that raises the question: how would the public ever know what was discussed? There is no known enforcement mechanism or disclosure requirement embedded in the ethics deal. Conversations with potential buyers at the showings would almost certainly stay private.
Chris Clark, an attorney for Hunter Biden, did not respond to a request for comment.
Under the agreement that was blessed by the White House, only the gallery owner, Georges Berges, would initially know the buyer’s identity or purchase price. However, buyers could choose to make themselves known. It would also be up to Berges to reject suspect buyers or inflated bids.
Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics during the Obama administration, said that arrangement amounts to the White House “outsourcing government ethics” to the art gallery owner.
And he said that Hunter Biden’s attendance at the art shows increases the ethical concerns.
“Is Hunter Biden going to walk around the art show with a blindfold on?” said Shaub. “It just goes to show you the focus isn’t on government ethics. It’s just showing the child of a president can cash in on the presidency.”
Berges has previously advocated for relationships between artists and art collectors in a 2015 promotional video.
“I feel that the relationship between artist and collector – it used to be a very unified relationship where it was very personal…The relationship today tends to be a little bit colder, more corporate – there’s less interaction between the artist, the collector and the gallerist. In fact, very few collectors now even meet the artist,” Berges said in the video.
“My goal is to really establish a gallery that has a global reach with affiliates all over the world working together to really re-establish that relationship that I think is important,” Berges added.
Davis said Biden and Berges have known each other for two years. According to Artnet, Biden has no formal artistic training and has only begun working as an artist full time in recent years. Berges opened the gallery in 2015 and its website features 20 artists.
“He really wants to help Hunter and for people to recognize his talent,” Davis said. “So you know, I think it’s all on the up and up.”
In 2016, Berges was sued by an investor in his gallery, Ingrid Arneberg, for fraud and breach of contract. The lawsuit alleged that Arneberg, an artist herself, had invested $500,000 for the purpose of gallery expansion and that Berges deposited it in his personal bank account to cover expenses. Berges countersued for $4.5 million, claiming, among other things, defamation and breach of fiduciary duty. The two settled in 2018 and terms were not disclosed.
An attorney for Arneberg did not reply to a request for comment.
In May 1998, Berges, then a 23-year old college student, 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.
Few details of the incident are available in public records but a report provided by the police department states, “Officers responded to a report of a fight inside the residence involving one suspect with a knife. No injuries reported.” Davis said Berges got into an altercation with a roommate.
Court records indicate Berges was sentenced to three years’ probation, but Davis said the felony charges were knocked down to misdemeanors and eventually dismissed. Santa Cruz County officials declined to clarify the outcome of the case. Berges never served probation, Davis said, downplaying the incident.
Four months after the arrest, Berges filed for personal bankruptcy. His creditors included credit card companies, a bank, a jeweler and furniture retailer Pier One Imports, according to federal court records. Bankruptcy proceedings ended three months later.
“He was a kid and he had credit card debt,” Davis said.
Since the art deal agreement became public when it was reported by the Washington Post, CBS News has requested interviews with Hunter Biden and Berges. Davis said the gallery would only respond to questions about Biden’s artwork and not the ethics agreement.
Berges declined a subsequent interview request Wednesday.
CBS News attempted to reach out to several former gallery employees to learn more about Berges and gallery operations. Davis called a CBS News reporter to say that was not “above board.”
Rachel Bailey contributed to this story.
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A&E Plus Art-A-Thon raises funds for Cornwall Art Walk – Cornwall Seaway News
CORNWALL, Ontario – 15 artists participated in Art-A-Thon, organized by 125 Pitt Street Studios, held on Pitt Street near First Street on July 31 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Mandy Prevost, one of the organizers of the event, explained this event helps to raise funds and awareness for the 2021 Cornwall Art Walk. She wished to thank thanking the Happy Popcorn Company for the use of the space near their store and Modern Primitive for Henna.
Prevost explained this year’s Art Walk will feature performers, artists and artisans on Pitt Street between Second and Water Streets and run between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday August 27. Organized under the auspices of Your Art Council, Cornwall & the Counties (YAC) the event will provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy dramatic presentations, musical pieces and view work created by local artists and artisans.
She anticipates 30 different artists will be participating in the Art Walk and mentioned that there would be the opportunity to purchase works during that event. More information on this event and other initiatives from YAC on their Facebook page or by visiting their website at www.yourartscouncil.ca.
Highlights from 'With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985' – Interior Design
Writing wall labels for an exhibition at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 2016 led to curator Anna Katz’s discovery of an American art movement from 1970s. “After completing a Ph.D. in contemporary art, I was astonished to have never heard of Pattern and Decoration and some of its key artists, such as Kim MacConnel,” she tells Interior Design. The first thing Katz embarked on upon becoming the museum’s in-house curator the following year was an exhibition that would put the influential but somewhat forgotten movement back on the map.
“With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985” opened at MOCA in October, 2019 with a display of around 50 artists whose work between early 1970s and mid-‘80s defied the era’s male-dominated minimalism with interpretation of craft and decorative techniques, “while using abstraction with forceful presence,” according to the curator. The show recently traveled to the Hessel Museum of Art at the Bard College campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, to emphasize the movement’s exchange between East and West Coasts as well as to continue the conversation around Pattern and Decoration (also known as P&D)’s influence on artists who insistently use craft today.
“When I visit young artists’ studios, I see how craft has become a tool to talk about marginalization and value,” Katz explains. P&D’s unsung motto of “more is more” echoes in contemporary artists, who according to the curator, believe “what’s considered unnecessary is necessary; over the top, just the right amount;” and “irrelevant, exceptional.”
She had initially planned a show that would perhaps be “a sharp edge of a wedge,” but her three years of research and visits to many attics and storage facilities led her towards an expansive direction. Besides the movement’s critical figures, such as Cynthia Carlson, Joyce Kozloff, Kim MacConnel, and Miriam Schapiro, artists who have not necessarily been considered a part of P&D also made the cut. “I am not claiming Lynda Benglis or Al Loving were a part of the group, but there is a tremendous crossover between the core artists and others’ overturning of hierarchies of western art tradition which gerrymandered to exclude anyone except white and male.”
Fabrics with bright sequins or gaudy-colored ceramics may now prevail contemporary art galleries, “but that was not the case back then,” Katz reminds and adds: “The show helps to understand why the current norm was so radical at time and recover artistic voices that has informed today’s artists to speak about political and social movements.”
This very connection between the past and present prompted the Denny Dimin Gallery in Manhattan to organize the ongoing group exhibition, “Fringe.” “Some of our gallery artists, including Amanda Valdez, Justine Hill, and Future Retrieval, are unabashedly influenced by the 1970s movement,” says co-founder Elizabeth Denny. “There are many new conversations to have about the role of the artist in terms of gender and identity that many of the P&D artists were having, which are still so important today.” “Fringe” includes 12 contemporary artists who adapt craft techniques, including sewing or floral arrangement, to deliver statements on race, identity, and gender. Artist Justine Hill, who also assisted Denny in organizing the show, sees the show as an opportunity to expand on a major influence on her work, “and bring that interest out of the studio to think about my peers through a P&D lens.”
Interior Design has picked highlights from the Hessel Museum of Art’s ongoing exhibition at Bard College, “With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985,” in addition to a few from “Fringe” in Manhattan.
Jane Kaufman, Embroidered, Beaded Crazy Quilt, 1983-85
Kaufman, according to Katz, “defied the logic that women historically did not make art.” For this nocturnal-hued quilt, the artist used over one hundred historical embroidery stitches dating as far as the 16th century. Kaufman studied them at The Textile Museum in Washington D.C. after she curated the very first P&D exhibition in 1976 at Alessandra Gallery in Manhattan with 10 artists, many of whom are in the current show. “The work of women artists for hundreds of years have been broadly called decoration, and Kaufman’s work shows decoration is worthy of admiration,” adds Katz. Often times intentional, the materials used by the women artists reflect their limited resources under the shadow of their male peers.
Cynthia Carlson, Tough Shift for M.I.T., 1981-2019
Architecture, especially Bauhaus, was an influence among the artists of this group. “Not its [Ludwig] Mies van der Rohe-led later stage, but the early Weimar era,” Katz notes. This connection is most apparent in Carlson’s wallpaper-looking painting of floral patterns. The curator also makes a parallel between the artist’s attempt to make-do with a given platform and inherent nature of decoration. “Unlike a painter working autonomously with an easel, Carlson shows the decoration’s dependence on presumed architecture,” she says. The artist first created the immersive installation, for which she applied paint directly onto the walls, for M.I.T. with cake-frosting tools. Between embracing decoration, domestic tools, and so-called feminine imagery of flowers, Carlson—who has recreated the same installation for the Hessel Museum of Art show—builds an expansive panorama of the movement for today’s viewers.
Sylvia Sleigh, The Turkish Bath, 1973
A figurative painting of male nudes may come off as an unexpected entry to an exhibition about abstraction and craft. Sleigh’s painting, however, sets the overall show’s tone and injects the viewer into the movement’s place and time. In addition to subverting art history’s fascination for female nudity through unrobing the opposite gender, Sleigh also juxtaposes a who’s who of P&D through placing three key male figures—all nude—in front of a geometric tapestry that salutes the movement’s core aesthetic. John Perrault, who organized P&D’s first museum exhibition at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) at Long Island City in 1977 takes the painting’s center stage with his gaze locked away from the painter’s. Artist Scott Burton is rendered as perched over his legs on which he rests his hands, while critic Carter Ratcliff who supported the movement with his essays and reviews sits over a chair behind other men.
Tina Girouard, Maintenance III, 1973
This 27-minute projection zooms onto Girouard’s lap while she tends a group of floral fabrics which she inherited from her uncle, Sullivan. Throughout the video, she rinses, sews, and folds the materials while the radio in the background plays content that ranges from the time’s popular tunes, advertisement, and political updates. A song from Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon album is followed by a car dealership advertisement, and we eventually hear the most recent development in the Watergate hearings. “That big ‘a-ha’ moment is critical about the movement’s queering of not only contemporary art but the broader authority,” says Katz. The topics’ relevancy to the present, particularly a few years ago during the curator’s research for the show, is further striking.
Takako Yamaguchi, Magnificat #6, 1984
Despite its rebellious nature, P&D always struggled with inclusivity and remained a heavily white movement. Moreover, appropriation of Asian, Middle Eastern, African and Indigenous craft was a common practice—although most artists committed to research and travel to understand the geographies they found themselves strongly influenced by. In addition to being the youngest artist in the exhibition’s checklist, Yamaguchi is particular for her take on Japanese art tradition. The California-based artist’s large-scale bronze leaf and glitter-heavy painting satirizes the West’s notions on Japanese Minimalism and the moderate use of expression with a medley of inspirations that range from kimonos to bedroom dividers to architecture. “She was against expectations and responded with Maximalism,” says Katz.
Howardena Pindell, Untitled #19, 1977
Similar to the show’s other Black artists, such as Sam Gilliam or Faith Ringgold, Pindell was not directly involved with P&D; however, her utilization of the time’s unconventional materials is strikingly similar to many members’. During her role at the feminist A.I.R. Gallery in the late ‘70s, Pindell worked with un-stretched canvases and sewed bits of shredded fabrics into paintings. Although this painting does not include her other signature materials, such as animal hair, perfume or glitter, the heavily manual technique and its quilt-like aesthetic is a strong example of Pindell’s inspiration from her travels to West and East Africa as well as challenging of feminism’s favoring of whiteness through her democratic technique.
Miriam Schapiro, Heartland, 1985
Older and more established than her peers, Schapiro was considered an authority in strategies around collage, decoration and feminism that set the movement’s foundation. Schapiro’s coining of the term femmage to define female collage perhaps cast the biggest impact on P&D artists who elaborated on unapologetic femininity and implementation of found everyday materials. In the shape of a heart, similar to Schapiro’s numerous other works, this assembly of stuff includes found fabric cut-outs sewn together with a commitment to traditional quilter patterns. The work is a mosaic of generations-long female labor and assumption of a supposedly domestic aesthetic with an unabashedly kitsch silhouette of a heart.
Justine Hill, The Arch, 2021
Known for her bright-colored whimsical cut-out paintings, Hill cites Cynthia Carlson, who is also a part of “Fringe,” as a strong influence, and this acrylic and paper arch-like painting is a stark proof. Similar to Carlson’s use interiority and painting through form, Hill creates portals for the subliminal with zigzagged gestures and immediate forms which absorb the viewer through their playfulness. The similarity between two artist’s contribution to the Denny Dimin show also lies in their use of multiple panels to play with painting’s notion of flatness and unity.
Josie Love Roebuck, Farm Boy, 2020
Figuration rarely made its way into P&D artists’ fabrics and yarns, but numerous threads of techniques in Roebuck’s portrait of a Black boy tie her work with the movement. Sewn and printed onto un-stretched canvas, the square-formed “painting” holds buttons, fabric and yarn that yield the boy’s piercing expression and ruby-colored shirt with geometric patterns. He blends into the background of patched light-hued fabrics. “The inclusion of artists of color and a non-binary into a conversation around who is allowed to claim the domestic space felt like a natural expansion of P&D ideas,” says Hill. “If the movement was aimed at inclusion and a non-hierarchical appreciation of art, then these voices are necessary to talk about its legacy today.”
Max Colby, They Consume Each Other #1, 2019-21
Similar to artists of color, queer artists were invisible throughout P&D’s roster. Colby’s elaborate installation of beads, faux flowers, sequins, ribbons, fabric and jewelry is a flamboyant celebration of self-expression through the artist’s meticulous process of utopian construction of a universe. “Max may not list P&D as a direct influence but the work uses forms and materials more associated with ritual or craft than art, and the topics discussed such as gender, power and beauty—all feel like topics the P&D artists would rally behind,” says Hill. Connected to the movement through her commitment to handwork, labor, and color, Colby builds a set-like small scale glass towers crowned with lush arrangements that burst with color and materials. The viewer is invited for a full tour around an impossibly colorful and joyfully queer banquet of shiny glass beads and lush surfaces.
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