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Hunter Biden’s art dealer praises first son, says his perspective is ‘very much needed’ as probes heat up

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Hunter Biden’s art dealer said Thursday that the first son “will become one of the most consequential artists in this century” as House Republicans demand more information from the New York City gallery owner as part of their wider investigation into the Biden family.

“This week the Chairman of the House Committee on Reform & Oversight of the 118th Congress of the United States of America issued a letter to the Georges Bergès Gallery with certain requests,” Georges Bergès told Fox News Digital in an email.

“At the moment I cannot comment and I will refer you to my legal counsel, but know that my singular focus has always been, and will continue to be, the integrity of our artists and the privacy of our art collectors,” he said.

Fox News Digital reported Wednesday that Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, sent a letter to Bergès demanding he turn over all communications between his gallery and the White House related to a reported deal to withhold all records of the prices and final buyers for Biden’s art.

Georges Bergès attends Dr. Gina Sam's Resident Magazine Cover Party at Georges Bergès Gallery in New York City on Sept. 20, 2018.

Georges Bergès attends Dr. Gina Sam’s Resident Magazine Cover Party at Georges Bergès Gallery in New York City on Sept. 20, 2018.
(Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

 

“You have advertised that Hunter Biden’s latest artwork ranges in price from $55,000 to $225,000. It is concerning that President Biden’s son is the recipient of anonymous, high-dollar transactions — potentially from foreign buyers — with no accountability or oversight (other than you),” Comer wrote to Bergès. “The American people deserve transparency regarding certain details about Hunter Biden’s expensive art transactions. We believe you possess important information related to this investigation.”

Bergès defended Hunter Biden’s art in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying the embattled first son has a “personal narrative” to tell through his art.

“Almost 10 years ago I opened a gallery that has a global perspective on the human experience and that seeks to find artists who I feel will be consequential not just in the art world but in the broader culture,” he said. “Artists that are relevant to the times, not to esoteric circles where art and exhibitions come and go unnoticed by society, by the people, by culture, but relevant innovative artists and exhibitions that challenge us, and engage us.”

“I represent Hunter Biden because I feel that not only his art merits my representation, but because his personal narrative, which gives birth to his art, is very much needed in the world,” Bergès continued. “His is a story of perseverance; Hunter’s story reflects what I believe is the beauty of humanity, judged not by the fall, but by having the strength to rise up, by having the character required to change and the courage to do it. Hunter Biden’s art reflects all of that and more. His art gives us hope; it reminds us that tomorrow brings a new day, a new beginning, a new possibility.”

“Hunter Biden will become one of the most consequential artists in this century because the world needs his art now more than ever,” he added. “In a world that beats us down, we need art in our lives that reminds of the unrelenting divinity within each of us.”

President Biden waves alongside his son Hunter Biden after attending mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Johns Island, South Carolina, on Aug. 13, 2022.

President Biden waves alongside his son Hunter Biden after attending mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Johns Island, South Carolina, on Aug. 13, 2022.
(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Fox News Digital previously reported that Bergès has long-standing ties to China and said in 2015 that he wanted to be the art world’s “lead guy in China.”

Comer responded to that comment on Wednesday, telling Fox News Digital that “foreign adversaries, including China, have used transactions involving sham art sales to launder money and evade sanctions imposed by the United States.”

“For decades, Hunter Biden has peddled influence and access to his father and engaged in shady business dealings with foreign adversaries around the world,” Comer said. “Given Hunter’s history of suspicious activity, it is deeply concerning that the President’s son continues to sell his amateur artwork to anonymous purchasers for sky-high prices.”

“Hunter’s art dealer, Bergès, has also made it clear that he intends to be the ‘lead guy’ in China for art,” he continued. “Why would anyone pay Hunter top dollar for items that are arguably worthless? He’s no Pablo Picasso. As Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, I will continue to push for transparency and answers for the American people to get to the bottom of who is buying Hunter’s art.”

Hunter Biden is seen at a park in Malibu, California, on Jan. 12, 2023.

Hunter Biden is seen at a park in Malibu, California, on Jan. 12, 2023.
(Backgrid)

 

Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Clay Higgins of Louisiana, all members of the House Oversight Committee, said they strongly support probing Hunter Biden’s art sales.

“Hunter Biden’s finger paintings clearly aren’t worth $500,000 per piece,” Boebert told Fox News Digital. “His clients weren’t buying art, they were buying access. Who these buyers were and what access they received is something the American people absolutely deserve to know — especially if it turns out the art was being bought from Georges Bergès’ friends in the CCP.”

“I strongly support investigating what appears to be open and notorious corruption and possible bribery of Joe Biden through transparently thin payments for no show jobs, amateur ‘art’ and other money laundering tactics,” Gosar told Fox News Digital. “The integrity of our government is too important to let Ukraine or China openly bribe our elected officials via a ruse with payments to Biden family members.”

“We’re going to investigate everyone involved with the Biden crime family,” Higgins said. “We are looking into the 148 suspicious activity reports issued by federally insured banks, money laundering, and corrupt interactions with China. Oversight investigations will reveal deep, uncomfortable truths. If someone goes to jail, then so be it.”

The gallery’s website says it is currently “under maintenance,” and Hunter Biden’s webpage was deleted in recent days.

As recently as Jan. 17, Hunter Biden’s page on the gallery’s website read, “A lawyer by profession, Hunter Biden now devotes his energies to the creative arts, bringing innumerable experiences to bear. The results are powerful and impactful paintings ranging from photogenic to mixed media to the abstract. His chosen substrates are canvas, YUPO paper, wood, and metal on which he affixes oil, acrylic, ink along with the written word; all of which creates a unique experience that has become his signature.”

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Ehiko: The Multidisciplinary Artist Shaping Decolonization Through Art

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Ehiko, a multidisciplinary artist born in Lagos, Nigeria, now calls Toronto, Ontario, her home. An OCAD University graduate, she has gained recognition for her powerful and evocative works that delve into the complexities of decolonization, health and wellness, spirituality, sexual violence, and the representation of melanated hair.

Ehiko’s artistic journey began in the vibrant city of Lagos, where the rich cultural heritage and traditional artistry influenced her deeply. This foundation blossomed in Toronto, where she continued to experiment and manipulate raw canvas due to its flexibility. Her expressive palette and the use of various textiles pay homage to traditional Nigerian craftsmanship, creating a unique blend of contemporary and ancestral art forms.

Her works are not just visually striking but also laden with profound messages. Ehiko’s exploration of decolonization is evident in her large-scale multi-medium paintings, performances, drawings, and installations. Each piece she creates is a testament to her commitment to unravelling spirituality linked to traditional Afrakan masks, presenting a dialogue between the past and present.

One of the central themes in Ehiko’s work is health and wellness, particularly within the context of the Black community. She addresses the often-overlooked aspects of mental health and the importance of wellness practices rooted in African traditions. Through her art, Ehiko encourages a reconnection with these practices, promoting healing and resilience.

Sexual violence is another critical subject Ehiko tackles with sensitivity and boldness. Her works often depict the pain and trauma associated with such experiences while also highlighting the strength and resilience of survivors. By bringing these issues to the forefront, she fosters conversations that are essential for societal change and healing.

The representation of melanated hair in Ehiko’s art is a celebration of Black identity and beauty. Her pieces challenge societal norms and stereotypes, presenting Black hair in its diverse and natural forms. This representation is not only about aesthetics but also about reclaiming cultural identity and pride.

Ehiko’s exhibitions in Lagos and Toronto have garnered significant attention, and her private collection of purchased work is available upon request. Her contributions to the art world extend beyond her creations; she is also an advocate for using art as a tool for social change and empowerment.

In every piece, Ehiko weaves her experiences, heritage, and vision, creating a tapestry that speaks to the heart and mind. Her work is a powerful reminder of the role of art in decolonization and healing, and her journey continues to inspire and influence the global art community.

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Home + Away artwork opens in Vancouver’s Hastings Park

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A new art installation now towers over Vancouver’s Hastings Park fields in celebration of the city’s history of spectators and sports.

Home + Away is a sculpture by Seattle artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio, which opened Monday in the southeast end of the historic park.

It’s a 17-metre-tall structure that resembles a narrow set of bleachers — similar to the stands of the Empire Stadium, which stood on the site of the park from 1954 to 1993 and hosted The Beatles, among many others. It recalls a covered ski jump that stood there in the 1950s and the nearby wooden rollercoaster at the PNE.

The city says the public is invited to walk the stairs and sit on the benches.

“In addition to being visually striking, this artwork is intended to be ascended, sat on and experienced. It offers exciting experiences of height and views and provides 16 rows of seating for up to 49 people, making for a unique spectator experience when watching events at Empire Fields,” the city said in a release Monday.

The idea for the park to include public art was outlined in the Hastings Park “Master Plan,” first adopted by the city in 2010. The city says Han and Mihalyo first presented their design in 2015.

“It’s wonderful to see this piece realized within the context of such a well-used public space,” said Han.

Home + Away was inspired directly by the site history of spectatorship, and we hope it will connect Hastings Park users to that history and the majestic views of the environment for many decades to come,” added Mihalyo.

The artwork features a large light-up sign, in the style of a sports scoreboard, that reads “HOME” and “AWAY.”

 

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Bill Viola, Video Artist Who Established the Medium as an Integral Part of Contemporary Art, Dies at 73

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Bill Viola, whose decades-long engagement with video proved vital in establishing the medium as an integral part of contemporary art, died on July 12 at his home in Long Beach, California. He was at 73 years old. The cause was complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. The news of his passing was confirmed by James Cohan Gallery.

Viola’s works are centered around the idea of human consciousness and such fundamental experiences as birth, death, and spirituality. He delved into mystical traditions from Zen Buddhism to Islamic Sufism, as well as Western devotional art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in his videos, which often juxtaposed themes of life and death, light and dark, noise and silence. These explorations were achieved by submerging viewers in both image and sound with cutting-edge technologies for their time.

“I first used the camera and lens as a surrogate eye, to bring things closer, or to magnify them, to experiment with perception, to extend vision and make lengthy observations of simple objects,” Viola said in a 2015 interview. “Once you do that, their essence becomes visible. So I suppose I was always interested in the inner life of the world around me.”

Beginning in the 1970s, Viola created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, and works for television broadcast—all of which expanded the scope of the medium and established Viola as one of its most notable practitioner.

Video still of a man diving into water that has been reversed. The image is mostly black and teal.

In 2003 the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; Tate, London; and the Centre Pompidou in Paris jointly acquired Bill Viola’s 2001 three-channel video installation Five Angels for the Millennium.

Photo Kira Perov/©Bill Viola Studio

Bill Viola was born in 1951. He grew up in Queens and Westbury, New York, and attended P.S. 20 in Flushing, before receiving his BFA in experimental studios from Syracuse University in 1973. There, he studied with visual art with the likes of Jack Nelson and electronic music with Franklin Morris.

Following his graduation, between 1973 to 1980, Viola studied and performed with composer David Tudor in the music group Rainforest, which later became known as Composers Inside Electronics. He also worked as technical director at the pioneering video studio Art/tapes/22 in Florence, Italy from 1974 to 1976. During that time he encountered the work of other seminal video artists like Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, and Vito Acconci.

Viola was subsequently an artist-in-residence at New York’s WNET Thirteen Television Laboratory between 1976 to 1983, wherein he created a series of works that premiered on television. He traveled to the Solomon Islands, Java, and Indonesia to record traditional performing arts between 1976 and 1977. Later that year, Viola was invited to show work at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, by cultural arts director Kira Perov, with whom he married and began a lifelong collaboration.

He was appointed an instructor in advanced video at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California in 1983. He was the Getty Research Institute scholar-in-residence in Los Angeles in 1998 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.

In 1985, Viola received with a Guggenheim Fellowship for fine arts, and later that decade, in 1989, he was awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. His work was also featured in some of the world’s most notable exhibitions, including Documenta VI in 1977, Documenta XI in 1992, the 1987 and 1993 editions of the Whitney Biennial, and the 2001 Venice Biennale.

In 1995, he represented the United States at the 46th edition of the Venice Biennale. For the pavilion, Viola produced the series of works “Buried Secrets,” including one of his most known works The Greeting, which offers a contemporary interpretation of Pontormo’s oil painting The Visitation (ca.1528–30). The Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin and New York’s Guggenheim Museum commissioned the digital fresco cycle in high-definition video, titled Going Forth By Day, in 2002.

Viola’s work was the subject of a major 25-year survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1997, which subsequently toured internationally. His work has been the subject of major museum retrospectives in the years since, including at the Grand Palais in Paris (in 2014), the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (2017), the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain (2017), and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia (2019), as well as an exhibition pairing his work with that of Michelangelo at the Royal Academy of Art in London in 2019.

Viola is survived by his wife Kira Perov, who has been the executive director of his studio since 1978, and their two children.

“One thing that’s very exciting about video that has turned me on since I first saw this glowing image way back in 1970 is that it can be so much,” Viola said in a 1995 with Charlie Rose on the occasion of this US Pavilion at the Biennale. “Furthermore, what’s really exciting is I don’t think it’s been since really the Renaissance where artists have been able to use a medium that one could say is the dominant communication form in society.”

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