The veteran New York art dealer Mary Boone, who was sentenced last week to 30 months in prison for filing false tax returns, has decided to close her gallery.
The move brings to an end, at least for now, an enterprise that came to define the contemporary art world, and that helped establish many artists who are now firmly ensconced in the canon.
“I had 49 wonderful years in art,” Boone told ARTnews on Saturday morning. “If I’m going to be the Martha Stewart of the art world, I would hope to do it with the same humility, humor, grace, and intelligence that she did. I’m trying to be optimistic and see this as a learning experience.”
The final exhibitions at Boone’s two Manhattan galleries will open in early March—Julia Wachtel will show at her Chelsea space and Derrick Adams at her Midtown location on Fifth Avenue. Both exhibitions are scheduled to close April 27. Boone has been ordered to report to federal prison by May 15.
Boone, who is 67, began her career in New York in 1970, and first worked at the storied Bykert Gallery, which was run by Klaus Kertess. She opened her own space, the Mary Boone Gallery, in 1977 at 420 West Broadway in SoHo.
That gallery was long a leading light of the New York scene, spotlighting artists like David Salle, Julian Schnabel, Eric Fischl, Ross Bleckner, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Georg Baselitz, and Brice Marden, and hosting shows of historical material by Francis Picabia, Agnes Martin, Dan Flavin, Joseph Beuys, and others.
While some of the artists that were originally the core of Boone’s program left for other dealers over the years, she continued to show key contemporary figures like Peter Saul and Ai Weiwei and emerging talents like Nina Chanel Abney, Mika Rottenberg, and Math Bass, sometimes in partnership with other galleries.
At the court hearing last week, the judge said that he expected Boone to be in prison into 2021. She declined to discuss her future plans today, but given her long history in the art trade, one imagines this may not be her final chapter.
Katherine McMahon contributed reporting.