- Hunter Biden said “f— ’em,” when asked how he responds to critics who say his art is overpriced.
- He also joked that he may be “the most famous artist in MAGA world.”
- The White House is grappling with the optics of Joe Biden’s son selling products of high and arbitrary values.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, didn’t mince words when responding in a podcast interview to those who criticized his art as being pricey and overrated.
“You seem to have good spirits about this sort of kind of crazed narrative around your painting,” Nate Freeman, the co-host of the podcast Nota Bene told Hunter. “What’s your response to people who are, you know, coming after the prices of the work or just, you know, the collectors, I mean, what’s been your response to that?”
“Other than ‘f— ’em’?” Biden quipped as Freeman and co-host Benjamin Godsill broke into laughter.
“That’s a pretty good response,” Freeman said, while Godsill added: “I think that’s all you need.”
The younger Biden came under scrutiny when the Washington Post reported earlier this month that the White House was struggling with the optics of a presidential family member selling artwork of highly subjective and often arbitrary value.
According to the Post, White House officials helped draft an agreement that would allow Hunter Biden to earn a living from his art while not knowing who buys his paintings. The agreement was struck with a New York gallery owner who estimated that the younger Biden’s paintings could sell for anywhere from $US75,000 ($AU101,511) to $US500,000 ($AU676,741) apiece, which art critics said were prices more typically seen for established and successful artists.
Politico interviewed experts about Biden’s art and asked them whether they believed it was worth as much as it’s selling for, and the vast majority said they believed it was overpriced.
Geoffrey Young, a New York poet, art critic, and curator, told Politico that while Biden’s paintings were “way better” than he thought they’d be, the price range was still very high.
Hunter Biden is “complexly famous, but not yet for art,” Young told Politico, adding, “Guess people will pay for a known last name.”
The national art critic Ben Davis, who has written about how Hunter Biden shouldn’t be selling his work at all, told Politico that for a fledgling artist, his work is already selling at the equivalent of pieces “in the top, top tier of what was thinkable.”
Biden addressed the unusual nature of his venture in his podcast interview with Freeman and Godsill, saying, “I never said my art was going to cost what it was going to cost, or how much it’d be priced at. I’d be amazed if my art sold, you know, for ten dollars.”
He added: “But I do know enough that the value of an artist’s work is not necessarily determined by the price, but the price is completely subjective and completely arbitrary at times, and has sometimes nothing to do with anything other than, you know, the moment.”
Biden’s art venture is the latest ethical dilemma his business dealings have posed for his father. He previously served on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, which Republicans criticized as a brazen attempt to cash in on his family name.
Biden’s involvement with Burisma became a centerpiece of former President Donald Trump’s campaign and his efforts to paint the Biden family as corrupt. However, nonpartisan experts and government officials testified that despite the optics of Hunter Biden’s work with Burisma, there was no evidence that his father was involved with his dealings or that Hunter Biden’s activities ran afoul of the law.
Earlier in the interview, Biden referenced his status as a bete noire for the Republican Party and its connection to his art.
“I’ve gotten to share my art not only with you guys and other people that I care about, but I’ve also gotten to share it with the entire viewing audience of Fox News, Newsmax, and OAN.”
“In one way, I think I’m the most famous artist in the MAGA world, at least,” he added.