Hunter Biden has turned grifting into an art form — literally.
The former crack addict and ne’er-do-well son of President Joe Biden raked in $375,000 selling prints — not originals, but prints — of his artwork ahead of exhibitions at prestigious art galleries in New York and Los Angeles, according to the New York Post.
The lucky buyer(s) not publicly identified reportedly shelled out $75,000 each for five reproductions, though suspicions continue to linger about whether this is about selling access to the president rather than copies of Hunter’s adult equivalent of macaroni art.
Earlier this year, the White House tried to hedge against such accusations by insisting that buyers would be carefully vetted and remain anonymous behind a “veil of secrecy” so nobody could line Hunter’s pockets with cash in exchange for access to the “Big Guy.”
But despite those assurances, Hunter rubbed elbows with 200 guests including celebrities like quirky musician Moby and boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard at his show’s opening in Los Angeles last week at the LA Milk Studios, Fox News reported.
Also present was Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti who was nominated to be the president’s U.S. ambassador to India and whose attendance could be read as an implicit promise of strong, direct ties from Hunter to the Biden administration.
Though Hunter’s New York show has been postponed until spring without further information, his west coast show is expected to continue through November, leaving plenty of opportunities to hobnob with the rich and fabulous.
Of course, even just the optics of this arrangement are terrible — but the details only seem to further the argument that this whole endeavor is nothing more than one huge scam.
There is the glaring fact that the art itself is lackluster, the kind used as generic hotel decorations to accent room colors but never considered high art — with some of his pieces carrying a $500,000 price tag.
Is Hunter Biden the next Pablo Picasso?
“The notion of a president’s son capitalizing on that relationship by selling art at obviously inflated prices and keeping the public in the dark about who’s funneling money to him has a shameful and grifty feel to it,” Walter Shaub, former Office of Government Ethics director under then-President Barack Obama, told Fox.
“He can’t possibly think anyone is paying him based on the quality of the art. This smells like an attempt to cash in on a family connection to the White House,” he added.
“This is the ‘art’ Hunter Biden is selling for $500,000,” Kyle Martinsen, the deputy rapid response director at the Republican National Committee, tweeted with a picture of one such work.
This is the “art” Hunter Biden is selling for $500,000 pic.twitter.com/MHd8c9SRVi
— Kyle Martinsen (@KyleMartinsen_) October 5, 2021
Another problem is that Hunter has been down this road before, crafting shady deals that trade on his famous name and the promise of access to his powerful father in exchange for obscene sums of money.
The modern art world is flooded with mediocre pieces bought and sold for obscene sums of money that have no value outside of bragging rights for the wealthy suckers who compete with each other to own them.
Some have even brilliantly cashed in on this phenomenon like the artist who earned $120,000 for a banana taped to a wall or, my new favorite, Jens Haaning who was paid $84,000 to recreate two previous pieces and instead handed back two blank canvases he aptly titled, “Take the Money and Run.”
But Hunter’s endeavor smacks of a money-laundering scheme, a scam that provides the perfect way to accept bribes and handouts in exchange for access to his father who also happens to be the most powerful person on the planet.
Preying on pompous fools who are easily parted from their fat stacks of cash is one thing, but selling out your country is a whole new level of sleaze.
It seems Hunter Biden has once again managed to parlay political influence into a steady stream of income, a scheme that needs nothing more than a lack of scruples and the opportunity to do it — in other words, he’s in the family business.