Mary Boone (born October 29, 1951) is the owner and director of the Mary Boone Gallery and was instrumental in the New York art market of the 1980s. Her first two artists, Julian Schnabel and David Salle, became internationally known and, by 1982 she had earned a cover story on New York magazine tagged "The New Queen of the Art Scene." The Mary Boone Gallery has represented notable artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Eric Fischl, Ross Bleckner, and Brice Marden. Originally based in SoHo, Boone currently has two galleries, one in midtown on Fifth Avenue, the other in Chelsea.
Early career (1973-1989)
Born in Erie, Pennsylvania to Egyptian immigrant parents, Boone studied Art History at Rhode Island School of Design and received her BFA in 1973. Deciding she did not have the skill to make it as a painter, Boone moved to New York City to study art history at Hunter College. After working as a secretary at the influential Bykert Gallery, she opened her own gallery in SoHo in 1977 to a positive reception. Her first two artists, Julian Schnabel and David Salle rapidly became popular in the Neo-expressionism movement. While Schnabel became a celebrity artist, Boone was recognized as a new breed of dealer; young and aggressive. Boone was able to expand her gallery across the street in 1981 and, in 1982, secured emerging artist Eric Fischl. Boone had earned a reputation for hype and media frenzy around herself and her artists when she was featured on the cover of New York magazine that same year. The rising artist Jean-Michel Basquiat joined the Mary Boone Gallery before his well received 1984 solo show there. Established artist Barbara Kruger was the first female artist to join Boone in 1987, surprising the art world that a leading feminist "deconstructivist" appropriation artist would join the gallery best known for aggressive neo-expressionist painting.
Mary Boone was one of the most successful gallerists of her generation and became "the dealer who epitomized the speculative '80s art world." She was the first dealer to require waiting lists for collectors to buy works that had not yet been produced, though some collectors were granted "first refusal". When the art market crashed in 1990, she was condemned for her role in the over-heated market of the previous decade. Boone was accused of over-hyping her artists or pushing them to release inferior works to fulfill market demand. In a later interview with W magazine, Boone explained without any prompting, "I think I lost my way. It was the Eighties. I got too involved with fame and fortune." 
Later career (1990-today)
After the 1990 art market collapse, Mary Boone avoided bankruptcy by selling some of her personal collection. Several of her big artists left for other galleries, including Salle, Marden and Georg Baselitz; though Kruger, Fischl and Ross Bleckner remained. An Eric Fischl painting she had sold at the height of the market for $1.4 million was resold in the early 1990s for only $167,500. In 1996, the Mary Boone Gallery left SoHo and opened a midtown gallery on Fifth Avenue. She opened a second gallery in the Chelsea art district in 2000. Mary Boone currently represents several of her established artists as well as a younger group of successful artists. Many of these newer artists are drawn to her earlier reputation, noting that much of the work she had previously represented is once again commanding high prices. Commenting on the 'new' Mary Boone, Eric Fischl told a reporter in 2008:
|“||She's changed radically. Dramatically but slowly, if that's possible. She's really moved from a mono-focused, obsessive, driven character who could be bullying, infuriating, quick to argue and ultimately isolated to somebody who—through her spiritual development, her revelations—serves her community.||”|
Mary is currently under investigation by the IRS for tax fraud after a group of prominent collectors, disgruntled by her unethical behavior, reported her to authorities. [Please substantiate this allegation with sources.]
Significant artists currently or previously represented by the Mary Boone Gallery include:
- Georg Baselitz
- Jean-Michel Basquiat
- Peter Halley
- Ross Bleckner
- Will Cotton
- Inka Essenhigh
- Eric Fischl
- Luis Gispert
- Barbara Kruger
- Damian Loeb
- Brice Marden
- Aleksandra Mir
- Robert Polidori
- David Ratcliff
- Tom Sachs
- David Salle
- Peter Saul
- Julian Schnabel
- Richard Tuttle
- (1982-04-19),"The New Queen of the Art Scene". New York
- Rhode Island School of Design Website
- Julie L. Belcove (November 2008). A New Boone. W magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
- Cottington, David, Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction, 2005, p35. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280364-6
- McGuigan, Cathleen (1985-02-85),"New Art, New Money". The New York Times, New Art, New Money
- Finke, Nikki (2005-11-17),"Blame Ovitz: When Art Started Imitating Hollywood", LA Weekly, 
- Raynor, Vivien (1984-05-11),"Art: Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat at Boone". The New York Times, 
- Tittel, Cornelius (2006-05-14), "And then it went boom", Die Welt Am Sonntag. 
- David Rimanelli (September 1, 1997). "Uptown girl: Mary Boone's new art gallery in uptown SoHo". Interior Design.
- Haas, Nancy (2000-03-05), "Stirring Up the Art World Again". The New York Times, .