Even CNN Has Harsh Critique of Hunter Biden’s ‘Café Painter’ Art

"If I were a museum curator, I would struggle to find compelling reasons to share it with the public..."

/
6
Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza

The ethics concerns for having President Joe Biden’s son Hunter suddenly use his father’s position of power to sell his homemade “artwork” is obvious. CNN, however, asked the simple question, ‘is it even any good?’ In summary, the answer is ‘not really.’

CNN Editor-at-large Chris Cillizza wrote, “ethics questions aside though, I was interested in something different: Is Hunter Biden’s art, well, any good? So I reached out to Sebastian Smee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic for The Washington Post, to get his evaluation of Hunter Biden, artist.”

The conversation between Cillizza and Smee was quite comical and not exactly flattering for the 51-year-old Hunter. Conducted via email, their exchange is summed up below:

Cillizza: Let’s start simple: Is Hunter Biden’s work any good, aesthetically speaking?

Smee: For me, not really.

I’ve only seen it in reproduction, so I’m sure I’m missing a lot: texture, layering, detail. Parts of them look technically impressive. But the style is eclectic in a way that makes his work feel neither one thing nor another… But if I were a museum curator, I would struggle to find compelling reasons to share it with the public.

Cillizza: How has the art world reacted to Hunter Biden the artist — particularly given that he has no formal training as such?

Smee: Mostly, a shoulder shrug. A few people probably sniff the chance to make money from his notoriety. But for the most part, people with influence in the art world are looking at his work and thinking, “Nothing much to see here.”

Cillizza: The New York Times last year described Biden’s paintings as “leaning toward the surreal.” Is that how you would describe them? Why or why not?

Smee: People sometimes say “surreal” when they mean random…

Cillizza: In an interview earlier this year with Artnet, Hunter Biden said he paints “to bring forth, what is, I think, the universal truth.” What do you make of his work, seen through that light?

Smee: Not trying to be unkind (no one is interested in my idea of universal truth either, as far as I know) but I’m not sure how interested I am at the moment in Hunter Biden’s idea of universal truth.

I mean, give me a break. What is he? A Bodhisattva? A guru? He may have figured out some stuff for himself, and that’s great. But if I’m searching for universal truths, there are other people I’ll go to first.

Cillizza: Finish this sentence: Hunter Biden’s work resembles the work of ____________.” Now, explain.

Smee: “… a cafe painter.”