Only a drop of bold names – and several visitors who refused to identify themselves at all – have stopped at the long-awaited exhibition of Hunter Biden’s paintings this week in SoHo.
And a couple will definitely not attend – Joe and Jill Biden.
“It’s unfortunate that a father or mother can not see his work, but it’s the time we live in and it will be a distraction,” Georges Berges, owner of the SoHo gallery, told Artnet News about Bidens’ absence.
A handful of artists and industry professionals have turned up at the George Berges Gallery for private viewing to see the controversial work of the president’s son. A wordy security guard named Theo stands outside the West Broadway venue and only allows those with invitations to enter.
Among the visitors on Wednesday was Gene Epstein, a former senior economist at the New York Stock Exchange, who runs a monthly debate series called the SoHo Forum. Epstein, who told The Post that he had also worked as finance editor for Barron’s, was accompanied by his artist wife Hisako Kobayashi. She is one of 19 artists represented by Berges, according to the gallery’s website.
Several visitors refused to disclose their names, and some even offered false designations when asked by The Post.
Another Wednesday browser for the show, titled “The Journey Home – A Hunter Biden Solo Exhibition,” was Bill Fine, president of Artnet, an online art resource and database.
“The artwork is pulsating with colors, deep reds, ultramarine shades of blue and gold leaf,” said an article published Friday in Artnet News. “Most seem allegorical, imbued with mythology, symbolism and personal history. Snakes spin their bodies around totems.”
Berges told the magazine that the show, which includes 25 works on metal, canvas and Japanese Yupo paper, will run until November 15, when it goes to Berges’ second gallery in Berlin.
“One of the things I never foresaw was the political irrationality that people may have,” Berges told Artnet News. “There are blind, predetermined judgments, not only of Hunter, but of myself. If people look at his work objectively, it’s great work. And most people come in and they say, ‘Wow, I had it. not expected!’
Biden’s works, which range in price from $ 75,000 to $ 500,000, have been the subject of heated debate, with good government groups and Republican lawmakers claiming that buyers could use their art purchases as a means of gaining favor with the Biden administration.
The Post revealed earlier this month that Biden had already sold five paintings for $ 75,000 each, which the gallery owner later denied.
Earlier this month, the White House assured critics that it had a full-proof plan to prevent influence smuggling: demand that Berges keep buyers’ identities secret from the White House. Critics have said this plan is fatally flawed because buyers’ names are sure to leak publicly.
It is not clear how visitors who were allowed to preview the show this week were surveyed. Some stayed for about 40 minutes and saw the abstract paintings and talked to the gallery owner.
Berges did not return messages for comment.
The Post recently revealed that the gallery received $ 500,000 in COVID disaster relief funds from the Federal Small Business Administration, the highest amount given to a gallery in the 10th Congress District, which includes TriBeCa, SoHo and Chelsea. The disaster relief loan came in addition to nearly $ 80,000 that the gallery, which has two employees, received under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program.