After pleading guilty in September to filing false tax returns that claimed she had taken in millions of dollars less than was the reality, Mary Boone—an art dealer with roots in New York’s 1970s-era SoHo scene and galleries in the present in Midtown and Chelsea—was sentenced on Thursday to 30 months in prison in New York’s Southern District Court. She was granted up to one year of supervised release and, as part of her release, she has to serve 180 hours of community service.
In a statement read to the court in advance of the sentencing, Boone said, “I feel like a pariah,” adding that “I promise to be the best person that I can and to do good and affect lives in a positive way.” She apologized to the court, her family, and her colleagues.
The sentencing marks an end to a closely watched case surrounding Boone’s tax filings from 2012. Last September, Boone pleaded guilty to falsifying data submitted in returns that claimed her eponymous New York gallery business had lost $52,500 in 2011 when, in fact, it had made $3.7 million.
In documents filed in September, the United States attorney’s office said that Boone had used $1.6 million in funds from her gallery for her own uses. Around $800,000 allegedly went toward a renovation of her Manhattan apartment, while some $120,000 was, according to the U.S. attorney’s office filing, used to rent another Manhattan space where she and her son stayed while work was done on her home.
In December, months after the dealer pleaded guilty, lawyers for Boone submitted a psychological evaluation to the court claiming early childhood trauma as a cause of her tax evasion. The 237-page report included letters in support of Boone from such high-profile art-world figures as artist Ai Weiwei (whom Boone’s gallery represents), Performa founder RoseLee Goldberg, and Pace Gallery chairman Arne Glimcher. That same month, prosecutors responded by saying she was “motivated by greed” and calling for a three-year jail sentence.
This is not Boone’s first run-in with the law. In 2016 actor Alec Baldwin sued Boone, alleging that she had knowingly sold him a fake Ross Bleckner painting. That case was settled out of court, and ended with Boone paying Baldwin at least $1 million, according to a New York Times report. In 1999, Boone was charged with the unlawful distribution of ammunition and resisting arrest at her Midtown gallery, where she was showing work by the artist Tom Sachs that included handmade shotguns and bullets.
Boone first opened her gallery in New York’s SoHo neighborhood in 1977. She quickly became a success thanks to an artist stable that included, in its early days, David Salle and Julian Schnabel. By the end of 1982, Boone had appeared on the cover of New York magazine, which called her “The New Queen of the Art Scene.” In 1996, her gallery moved to Midtown Manhattan, where it continues to maintain a space, and in 2000, it began operating a second venue in Chelsea. Her gallery’s roster now includes Bleckner, Barbara Kruger, Ryan McNamara, and Laurie Simmons, among others.
This story will be updated.