New York, NY – Mary Boone’s two New York galleries will close in April, due to the January 18 sentencing of Ms. Boone to 30 months in prison and 180 hours of subsequent community service, the shortest prison term recommended by the prosecution. The date for her incarceration was postponed until May 15. As she has repaid the Internal Revenue Service more than six million dollars in fines and restitution, no additional penalties were imposed. Her conviction of two counts of tax fraud specifically named misrepresenting purchases and falsifying transactions, with Manhattan district attorney Geoffrey Berman saying that her “personal tax returns were more a work of impressionism than realism.” She used part of the gallery’s unreported income to fund her son’s education. Jerry Saltz, Ai Wei Wei, Julian Schnabel, Jeffrey Deitch and Jack Shainman were among the 100 letter writers vouching for her good character.
Known as the “Queen of the Scene” for her representation of new, brave artists early in their careers, including Ross Bleckner, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel and Barbara Kruger, she now calls herself the Martha Stewart of the Art World, due to her conviction and impending prison term, but also to make it known that she plans to learn from her mistakes and conduct herself with dignity as she serves her term. Her two galleries’ last exhibitions, at her midtown location, 745 Fifth Avenue and her Chelsea location, 541 West 24th Street, will feature, respectively, Julia Wachtel and Derrick Adams. She did concede after her conviction that her crimes were not unusual in New York’s art world, but that she possibly was caught due to a tip by a disgruntled employee. To date, her threat, early in the judicial process to expose everyone in the art world who was conducting similar crimes has not been realized.
Gallery directors and all those in the art and greater world should be good to their employees and hire a good accountant.