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White House Sets Ethics Plan for Sales of Hunter Biden’s Art – The New York Times

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The president’s son will be able to sell his paintings through a New York dealer, who will not disclose the buyers or the prices.

WASHINGTON — The White House has helped develop a system for Hunter Biden to sell pieces of his art without him, or anyone in the administration, knowing who bought them, the latest effort to respond to criticism over how President Biden’s son makes his money.

Under the arrangement, a New York City art dealer would sell the paintings, which the dealer has said he is pricing at between $75,000 and $500,000, while keeping secret all information about the sales, according to a person familiar with the plan.

The gallerist, Georges Bergès, has agreed to not share any information about the buyers or prices of Hunter Biden’s work with anyone. Mr. Bergès has also agreed to reject any offer that appears suspicious, such as one well beyond the asking price, the person familiar with the matter said.

Hunter Biden has been under scrutiny for years over business dealings around the world that often intersected with his father’s official duties. His work in Ukraine in particular became a political flash point, helping to lead indirectly to the first impeachment proceedings against President Donald J. Trump, and his business dealings in China became a campaign issue last year.

Hunter Biden is also under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware over his taxes. He has said he is confident he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

He has taken up painting in recent years, and his efforts to sell his works created a new ethics challenge for the White House, which came under pressure to ensure that buyers would not purchase them in an effort to curry favor with or gain access to the administration.

While some government ethics watchdogs defended the right of the president’s adult son to pursue a career, others raised concerns that the new arrangement lacked sufficient safeguards to prevent improper influence over the administration from potential purchasers.

Virginia Canter, the chief ethics council at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog, questioned what would stop purchasers of the artwork from subsequently making public they had bought a painting by Hunter Biden.

“I think it’s creative,” Ms. Canter said. “I guess they want to manage the conflict but the problem will be enforcement. Unless you have the purchaser sign nondisclosure agreements, this information would come out.”

The administration should also specifically prohibit officers of foreign governments from purchasing the pieces of art, she said. The Treasury Department warned last year that the anonymity of high-value art transactions could make the market attractive to those engaging in illegal financial activities or people subject to U.S. sanctions.

Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the White House, said the arrangement, which was previously reported by The Washington Post, would ensure ethical dealings.

“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,” Mr. Bates said in a statement.

Chris Clark, Hunter Biden’s attorney, did not respond to requests for comment. Mr. Bergès did not respond to a request for comment. An employee who answered the phone at his gallery declined to comment on the arrangement and said Mr. Bergès was not available.

Some ethics watchdogs said the arrangement did not go far enough.

“This was a perfect opportunity for the Biden White House to demonstrate how they are committed to elevating ethics and not allowing their family to trade in on the power of the White House,” said Danielle Brian, the executive director of the Project on Government Oversight. “They’ve disappointed us. This was a missed opportunity, and I think they’ve gone in the wrong direction.”

The administration is confident the arrangement, which the White House Counsel’s Office helped develop, will prevent anyone from citing a purchase of Hunter Biden’s art as proof of connection to the administration, according to a person familiar with the plan. If a buyer did go public with information about a purchase, administration officials would be discouraged from ever working with that person, the person said.

The venture into the world of high-priced art appears to be the next phase for the president’s son after years of criticism over his business dealings, especially during the time when his father was vice president.

Hunter Biden was paid $50,000 a month or more to serve on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company owned by an oligarch who was widely seen as corrupt, advised a wealthy Romanian business executive facing corruption charges and invested in a private equity fund linked to the Chinese government.

Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial centered on charges that the president abused his powers by pressuring the government of Ukraine to announce an investigation into Hunter Biden’s dealings there in an effort to damage the Biden campaign.

Mr. Biden has repeatedly defended his son’s work.

Hunter Biden has described painting as a form of therapy after a history of addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Painting “is literally keeping me sane,” he told The New York Times last year. “For years I wouldn’t call myself an artist. Now I feel comfortable saying it.”

Mr. Bergès told Artnet News last month that he expected Hunter Biden’s art pieces to be sold for as much as $500,000.

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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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