Hunter Biden entertained celebrities on Friday at his first art exhibition in Hollywood, California, as ethics concerns remain about buyers potentially paying eyebrow-raising prices for the art pieces by the son of President Joe Biden in an attempt to gain influence with the White House.
The exhibition, hosted by Biden’s New York art dealer, Georges Berges, featured a star-studded crowd of about 200 people that included boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, who posed with Biden for a photo, according to photos and video from the event reported by the Daily Mail.
Other celebrity guests and potential art buyers at Biden’s exhibition at Milk Studios were singer Moby, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and artist Shepard Fairey, the creator of the Barack Obama “Hope” campaign poster.
The scandal-plagued son of the president has embraced a new life as a full-time artist and will get his paintings shown again later this month at Berges’ gallery in Soho, Manhattan. The younger Biden’s abstract paintings and collages, which sometimes resemble bacteria under a microscope, and sometimes depict human body parts, were initially set to sell for $75,000 for works on paper and $500,000 for large paintings, but that number has increased.
He was accompanied at the Los Angeles show by his wife, Melissa, and two of his daughters, Naomi Biden, 27, and Maisy Biden, 20, the Daily Mail reported.
Last month, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee demanded that the gallery owner showcasing Biden’s art detail what ethics measures he is taking to prevent buyers from gaining illicit influence with the White House.
”This investigation, which includes your gallery’s role in Mr. Biden’s plans, is meant to prevent fairly obvious opportunities for an ethical or national security breach,” Rep. James Comer (R-KY) wrote in his letter to Berges.
“We won’t know who they are, so there’s no scenario where they could provide influence,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in July of potential purchasers of Biden’s art.
The president’s son, 51, has no formal art training but has reportedly been creating art since he was very young.
“I don’t paint from emotion or feeling, which I think are both very ephemeral,” Biden said in a June interview with artnet.com. “For me, painting is much more about kind of trying to bring forth what is, I think, the universal truth.”
The lawyer, former lobbyist, and former drug addict has been dogged by high-profile political and personal scandals, some of them salacious.
In leaked emails from 2014 reported by the New York Post, Biden appears to try to leverage his influence with his father, who was vice president at the time and heavily involved in U.S. policy on Ukraine. Biden referenced his father in negotiations regarding his lucrative position on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma.
Asked in June what his father thinks of his art, Biden responded, “My dad loves everything that I do, and so I’ll leave it at that.”