Only a few names with bold faces — and many visitors who refused to identify themselves at all — stopped by the highly anticipated exhibition of Hunter Biden paintings this week in SoHo.
And one of the spouses will definitely not attend – Joe and Jill Biden.
SoHo Gallery owner George Burgess told Artnet News of Biden’s absence, “It’s unfortunate that either father or mother can’t see his work, but these are the times we live in and it becomes a distraction.”
A few artists and industry professionals showed up at the Georg Berg Gallery to see private works of the president’s controversial son. A tight security guard named Theo stands outside the West Broadway venue, only allowing those with invitations to enter.
Among the visitors on Wednesday was Jane Epstein, the former chief economist at the New York Stock Exchange who runs a monthly debate series called the SoHo Forum. Epstein, who told the newspaper that he also worked as an economic editor at Barron’s, was accompanied by his wife, artist Hisako Kobayashi. She is one of 19 artists like Berg, according to the gallery’s website.
Many visitors refused to reveal their names, and some even gave fake nicknames, when questioned by The Post.
Bill Fine, president of Artnet, an online art resource and database, was another viewer of the show Wednesday, titled “The Journey Home – A Hunter Biden Solo Exhibition.”
“The artworks burst with color, dark reds, ultraviolet blues, and gold leafs,” said an article published on Friday. In Artnet News. “Most seem allegorical, steeped in myth, symbolism, and personal history. Snakes spin their bodies around totems.”
Berges told the magazine that the exhibition, which features 25 works on Japanese metal, canvas and Yupo paper, will run until November 15, when he heads to another Berges gallery in Berlin.
“One of the things I never expected is the political irrationality that people can feel,” Burgess told Artnet News. “There are predetermined blind judgments, not just from Hunter, but from me. If people look at his work objectively, that’s great work. And the majority of people come in and say, ‘Wow, I wasn’t expecting this!'”
Biden’s works, priced between $75,000 and $500,000, have been the subject of heated debate, with Republican lawmakers and good government groups arguing that buyers could use their art purchases as a way to curry favor with the Biden administration.
The Post revealed earlier this month that Biden had already sold five paintings at $75,000 each, which the gallery owner later denied.
Earlier this month, the White House assured critics that it had a well-proven plan in place to prevent leverage: requiring Burgess to keep the identities of White House buyers secret. Critics have said that this plan has fatal flaws because the names of the buyers are sure to be leaked publicly.
It is not clear how visitors who were allowed to preview the show this week were screened. Some stayed for 40 minutes to see the abstract paintings and to speak with the owner of the gallery.
Burgess did not respond to messages seeking comment.
The Post recently revealed that the fair received $500,000 in COVID relief money from the Federal Small Business Administration, the highest ever given to a fair in the 10th congressional district, which includes TriBeCa, SoHo and Chelsea. The disaster relief loan was in addition to the approximately $80,000 the fair, which employs two employees, received under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program.