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Opinion | Hunter Biden is going about his art career all wrong – The Washington Post

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When it comes to navigating the tricky ethical issues that may arise around Hunter Biden’s budding career as an artist, he is going about it in exactly the wrong way. What this situation calls for is transparency — the more of it, the better.

As The Post has reported, the president’s son, who has no professional training and has never before sold art on the commercial market, has struck an arrangement with a New York gallery owner under which Biden’s art — described as paintings, drawings and collages — will go on sale this fall for asking prices that are expected to reach as high as $500,000 for a single piece.

However, under terms negotiated by parties described as “officials close to President Biden,” the gallery owner, Georges Bergès, will withhold all records of the transactions, including final sales and the identities of buyers and bidders. Bergès, The Post reported, “has also agreed to reject any offer that he deems suspicious or that comes in over the asking price.”

Got that? To insulate these purchases from the obvious potential for conflict-of-interest violations, we are counting on the sole judgment of a gallery owner who stands to make a profit on the deal. And we are relying on the assumption that the details can remain confidential in a political world in which pretty much nothing does.

It is also worth noting that high-value art is a business in which it is not unheard of for foreign buyers and sketchy parties to disguise their identities by using others to make their purchases.

I have no problem with Hunter Biden’s learning who is buying his art, and how much they are paying.

In fact, I think we all should know.

These transactions could then be subjected to the scrutiny of art critics and professional appraisers who can tell those of us who don’t know a Warhol soup can from an original by Campbell’s whether the value of Biden’s talent resembles the amount that is being paid for it.

We could also learn whether his artwork is being purchased by connoisseurs known for having a knack for spotting rising talent, or people who have never previously stepped inside an auction house, but who happen to be in the market for a tax break or a bit of regulatory relief from the government.

Hunter Biden has already come under legitimate criticism for making money off his last name. But he is hardly the first presidential kin to do so.

Have some of these earlier endeavors been tacky? Yes. And ethically suspect? Yes again.

When Jimmy Carter was in the Oval Office, each can of a certain light-bodied lager known as “Billy Beer” came with the personal endorsement of the president’s brother: “I had this beer brewed up just for me. I think it’s the best I ever tasted. And I’ve tasted a lot. I think you’ll like it, too.”

As first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt appeared in advertisements for hot dog buns, mattresses and air travel.

Meanwhile, it is hard to keep count of the number of presidential children and other family members who have written books. Hunter Biden himself made the bestseller lists earlier this year with a scorching memoir in which he wrote of his battles with addiction.

But in all of these instances, there was an aftermarket: Did a publisher pay too high an advance for, say, a children’s book or a novel written by a president’s daughter? It was easy enough to tell by looking at the sales figures.

Biden’s defenders are certain to ask: Well, what about the Trumps?

Yes, it is true that the 45th president and his family set a new standard for shamelessness.

Where his predecessors divested their businesses and put their assets into blind trust, Trump only went so far as to turn over day-to-day management of his companies to sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. His eldest daughter and her husband worked in the White House as top advisers. The family patronized its own properties, which meant that taxpayer dollars, spent for security and other purposes, helped keep their operations afloat.

But what President Biden has promised is, in the words of White House spokesman Andrew Bates, “the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history.”

This isn’t a close call. Hunter Biden may be the next great wonder of the art world. If he is, I wish him all the acclaim that he deserves. But keeping things under wraps is not the way to go about it.

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White House on defensive over Hunter Biden art sales – FRANCE 24

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Issued on: 24/07/2021 – 01:08

Washington (AFP)

The White House assured Friday that necessary ethical precautions would be taken around any exhibitions and sale of artwork by President Joe Biden’s son, whose personal life and professional career have been peppered with controversy.

Asked by reporters about upcoming exhibitions of Hunter Biden’s artwork in New York’s Georges Berges Gallery, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president’s son would be “attending gallery events.”

The discussions about sales “will be happening with the gallerist” and not Hunter Biden, she said.

“That is different than meeting with prospective buyers.”

Psaki had announced July 9 that a system had been established allowing Hunter Biden to practice his profession “within appropriate safeguards,” including the confidentiality of any transactions and no contact with buyers.

At exhibits of Hunter’s work, “the selling of his art will all happen through the gallerist and the names and individuals will be kept confidential,” she said.

When pressed that a buyer could simply tell the artist that he or she is purchasing his work, Psaki stressed that a strict rules structure will be in place.

“He will not know, we will not know who purchases his art,” she said.

Contacted by AFP, the gallery did not immediately provide any comment or details.

The Biden administration, which seeks to present itself as ethically unblemished, has been repeatedly questioned about the artistic career of the 51-year-old lawyer and businessman-turned-painter.

US media point out the obvious risks of businessmen or others purchasing the artwork with the sole aim of winning access to or influence with the White House.

Press reports have said the paintings by Biden, who has had no formal training, could sell for up to half a million dollars.

Hunter Biden is one of former president Donald Trump’s favorite targets.

During the 2020 presidential campaign Trump and his supporters regularly criticized Hunter Biden for his economic interests in Ukraine and China when his father was vice president under Barack Obama.

Hunter is also the target of a federal investigation into possible tax crimes.

In a memoir published earlier this year, the president’s youngest son recounted his struggle with addiction to cocaine and alcohol.

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Art exhibits return to Callander’s Alex Dufresne gallery – BayToday.ca

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After a long hiatus, art shows are returning to the Alex Dufresne Gallery at the Callander Bay Heritage Museum this Saturday.

The works of Carole Davidson and Sara Carlin-Ball are highlighted in an exhibit entitled “Journeys to a Conversation with Nature.”

In a release promoting the show, Davidson and Carlin-Ball explain the “works display a felt presence of our natural environment in unexpected materials and surprising subjects.”

Their goal in selecting the pieces for the exhibit is to capture “the luscious spectacular that is Nature, Muse, Essence,” and emphasize how these “inspire the audience to revision their place – their gratitude and responsibility – on this Earth.”

See: Callander museum reopens from COVID with new art show

“It feels absolutely wonderful to have art back on the walls,” said Natasha Wiatr, the gallery’s curator.   

The last show was this past April but did not last long before Covid regulations closed the event. Since then, “the walls have been empty.”

“We haven’t consistently had shows in what feels like so long,” she said, and is pleased to launch what will hopefully be a long stretch of exhibits.

Currently, the gallery is booked until 2023, “and we’ve added two more shows per year,” Wiatr explained.

“We see ourselves as a community-based gallery,” she said, and as such, strive to present as many local artists as possible.

See: White Water Gallery has a new executive director

The Museum and Art Gallery are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 – 5:00 p.m.

The gallery can hold 14 people at once, and walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can also be booked ahead of time at www.mycallander.ca/gallery.

Staff remind to you please wear a mask when you visit and maintain social distance.

Admission to the museum is $5 for seniors and students, $4.50 for kids 6-12, free for children under 6 and adults pay $5.50. Family rate for 4 is $15. Entrance to the gallery is by donation.

See: Mattawa museum celebrates reopening with Community exhibit

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Callander museum reopens with art show – The North Bay Nugget

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The art show Journeys to a Conversation with Nature will reopen the Callander Museum and Alex Dufresne Gallery Saturday.

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The works of Carole Davidson and Sarah Carlin-Ball will remain on display to Aug. 20.

“There is an essential longing for life that erupts in a luscious spectacular that we call Nature,” the artists said in a statement.

“The human animal is a part of this longing for life that some might call a Muse – a Muse for artists of every passion and discipline. Artists are at the mercy of their muse and transcribe whatever is whispered to them about life, people, and the compelling natural environment they belong to.

“One may be a studied artist haphazardly trained while another may be an experimental soul, interpreting the ever-changing environment around her.”

Influenced by the gifts of their lives and the natural offerings around them, each artist interprets what touches her soul. Each piece of art tells a portion of her journey, calling to the viewer to look more closely at what life has to teach us.

Carlin-Ball’s muse slumbered as she was raising her children and working. As soon as she could make time, there was an explosion of experimentation driven by her mantra ‘What would happen if…?’

Mistakes happily romped with successes. Now, her careful, unique presentations interpret life and nature, and challenge one’s imagination.

As she learned of the melting of the muskeg and the possibility that Canada will soon lose that habitat and vibrant spring bloom, Carlin-Bell felt the compulsion to replicate that vital image with unexpected media: patinated and fired copper was punched and threaded through with fibre knotted to create the blooms and surface stems.

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Eventually, the vibrant muskeg spring emerged.

One of Carole Davidson’s pieces of art which will be on display at the Callander Museum and Alex Dufresne Gallery until Aug. 20Submitted Photo
One of Carole Davidson’s pieces of art which will be on display at the Callander Museum and Alex Dufresne Gallery until Aug. 20Submitted Photo

For Davidson, nature was a refuge she quietly celebrated with natural and cultivated talent for art and writing. A busy and brief career in graphic design took over until disabling MS symptoms forced (or allowed) her to slow down.

She began a meditation practice to cope with symptoms and immediately began painting again.

Her creative work parallels her spiritual path and the subjects of her study get smaller and smaller as she has the opportunity to stop and notice. She finds joy in a yellow spider on a sunflower or a nest full of baby robins.

Together, their works display a felt presence of our natural environment in unexpected materials and surprising subjects.

The Museum and Art Gallery are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be booked ahead of time at www.mycallander.ca/gallery and the museum and gallery also welcome same-day walk-ins.

Those visiting are asked to wear a mask and social distance.

The museum and art gallery are located at 107 Lansdowne St. E., Callander.

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