Hunter Biden had a sharp message for his critics on Friday as he defended his overpriced paintings amid ethical concerns over the sales at his upcoming art show.
The president’s son addressed the controversy over his artwork – which is estimated to cost up to $500,000 a piece – in an interview with podcast Nota Bene this week.
When asked about his response to the ‘crazed narrative’ surrounding his paintings, Hunter replied: ‘Other than ‘f**k ’em?’
‘Yeah look, I never said what my art was going to cost or how much it would be priced at,’ he continued.
‘I’d be amazed if my art had sold for $10, just because the first time you ever go about it is the idea someone is attracted to your art, let alone that they would pay something for it.’
Hunter Biden had a sharp message for his critics on Friday as he defended his overpriced paintings in an interview with podcast Nota Bene
The president’s son, 51, now has a studio for painting artworks he will display when he makes his controversial debut at a Manhattan gallery this fall
Hunter, 51, a former lobbyist, has shifted his focus to the art world in recent years and is due to make his professional debut this fall at two exhibitions in Los Angeles and New York.
But the shows have raised concerns among critics and ethics watchdogs who worry buyers willing to pay for the pricey paintings could do so to try and curry favor with the Biden administration and even the president himself.
According to art dealer George Berges, who is selling his work, the paintings are expected to fetch anywhere from $75,000 for a piece on paper to half a million dollars for large-scale paintings – an eye-popping sum for someone with no formal art qualifications.
But Hunter told podcast hosts Nate Freeman and Benjamin Godsill that the price of a work of art is ‘completely subjective.’
‘The value of an artist’s work is not necessarily determined by the price,’ he argued.
‘The price is completely subjective and sometimes has nothing to do with anything other than the moment.
‘What’s probably the most overused example is if you tape a banana to the wall,’ Hunter added, prompting laughter.
‘But it means something. It means something to someone.
Hunter Biden’s artist profile on the Georges Bergès Gallery website. He is set to debut his work at two exhibitions – one in Los Angeles and another in New York
Would you pay half a million for a Hunter Biden original? The eye-popping prices have prompted some to accuse Hunter of trying to cash in on his proximity to power
This oil on canvas painting by Hunter Biden is titled, ‘St. Thomas’ and is expected to be displayed at the exhibition this fall
Pictured: Untitled painting on yupo by Hunter Biden. Art dealer George Berges, who is selling his work, said the Hunter’s pieces are expected to fetch anywhere from $75,000 for a piece on paper to half a million dollars for large-scale painting
‘I’m not saying that I would be as audacious or as presumptuous to tape a banana to the wall and try to sell it, but I think that I’m doing stuff.
‘Or at least I spent a lot of time – as my brother would say focus on the beautiful things – I spent a lot of energy on this.’
He also argued that if he were going to ‘hatch’ some sort of plan, ‘it certainly wouldn’t be to make paintings.’
Earlier in the interview, Hunter admitted that his father’s role in politics has been the ‘unfair advantage of my whole life at different levels.’
Georges Bergès, the gallerist representing Hunter Biden
‘It’s a hell of a lot easier to get noticed not only by the cop who pulls you over for speeding, but also by the school or whatever the endeavor may be. Or the law firm, or the whatever,’ he said.
‘I don’t do this lightly and I don’t do this without the knowledge that there are so many incredible artists that never get the chance to find a gallery or to share their art with the world.
He then took a jab at his conservative news stations criticizing his work, saying: ‘Now I’ve gotten to share my art, not only with you guys and the people that I care about, but I also got to share it with the entire viewing audiences of Fox News, OANN, and Newsmax.’
‘I think I’m the most famous artist in the MAGA world,’ he added.
The White House said it had established an arrangement that would allow Hunter to sell his artwork for tens of thousands of dollars without knowing the identity of the purchaser, an agreement established in attempt to avoid any potential ethical concerns surrounding his sales.
Under the arrangement, a private art gallery owner will set prices for his work and will handle all bidding and sales, but will not share any information about buyers or prospective buyers with Hunter or anyone in the administration.
But critics including George W. Bush’s former ethics chief have cast doubt on the plan.
‘It’s going to be very clear with people in the know as to who buys Hunter Biden’s art,’ Richard Painter said on Fox.
‘The question is, are the American people going to know? The White House should insist on complete transparency.’
Walter Shaub, who was appointed by President Obama and led the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to 2017, also blasted the arrangement in an interview with CBS News last week.
‘Is Hunter Biden going to walk around the art show with a blindfold on?’ Shaub sarcastically asked.
‘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.’
A spokeswoman for Georges Bergès Gallery – who are selling Hunter’s paintings – confirmed last week that he will be in attendance at both of the exhibits.
‘He’s looking forward to it. It is like someone debuting in the world… of course he will be there,’ spokeswoman Robin Davis told CBS News.
Davis stated that everyone invited to the two art shows would be ‘vetted’ to make sure that they are ‘appropriate”.