Mary Boone

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Mary Boone
Bornc. 1951/1952 (age 70–71)
EducationRhode Island School of Design
Hunter College
Occupation(s)Art dealer, collector
Years active1977-present

Mary Boone (b. 1952)[1] is an American art dealer and collector. She is credited with championing and fostering dozens of contemporary artists who have made significant contributions to the work of art in the late 20th and early 21st century including David Salle, Eric Fischl, Ai Wei Wei, Barbara Kruger, Laurie Simmons, Peter Halley, Ross Bleckner, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Boone moved to New York City at the age of 19 from Erie, Pennsylvania. Her parents were working class Egyptian immigrants.

Boone studied Art History at Rhode Island School of Design and received her BFA in Sculpture in 1973.[2][3]

She met sculptor Lynda Benglis at Hunter College and the artist introduced her to the director of Bykert Gallery, Klaus Kertess, where she would eventually work.[4]

Mary Boone Gallery[edit]

In 1977, Boone opened a gallery, Mary Boone Gallery, in SoHo, New York. The gallery quickly rose to prominence by exhibiting new painters associated with Neo-expressionism such as Eric Fischl, Julian Schnabel, and David Salle.[5][6] Whereas conceptual and minimal approaches to sculpture had dominated the 1970s in the art and cultural downtown scenes, Boone's gallery and presence throughout the 1980s offered a fresh and prophetic departure from status quo by supporting a revival in painting.[7]

In 1982, Boone was named "The New Queen of the Art Scene" by New York magazine.[8] She would go on to play an important role in the New York art market and shaping contemporary art in the 1980s.

The Swiss art dealer and collector Bruno Bischofberger partnered with the gallery and mounted early shows featuring the painter Jean Michel Basquiat. Basquiat joined Boone's gallery in 1984 after his first solo show there.[5][6][9] The two galleries shared a selection of artists. Boone successfully brought a Neo-expressionist movement to Europe and Bischofberger situated these American painters alongside the post-war painters like Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz.

In 1987, the American conceptual artist Barbara Kruger became the first woman artist to join the gallery proving that Boone was adept at keeping an eye on the pulse of contemporary art and its predilection for "deconstructivist" appropriation at the time.

The gallery played a significant role in the development of the art market in the 1980s.[10][11] Boone was one of the first dealers to require waiting lists for collectors to buy works not yet produced.[8] A keen eye for strategic relevance enabled her to stay afloat during changes in the art market.

In the early 2000s, Will Cotton, Tom Sachs, and Inka Essenhigh joined the gallery's roster.[12]

Boone's career as an art dealer spans the epoch formally classified as Contemporary Art and she is regarded as one of the most successful art dealers of her generation. Though Boone's reputation in the art world has fluctuated as drastically as the art market itself over the past four decades.

In September 2018, Boone pleaded guilty to filing false income tax returns and "agreed to pay more than $3 million in restitution for taxes she owes for 2009, 2010, and 2011."[13] During the trial proceedings, collectors, dealers, artists Wendy White and Sheila Pepe, and art critic Jerry Saltz gave testimony to Boone's character and her lifelong dedication to the art establishment. "Mary's been a target forEVER," Pepe tweeted, "Like all the boys aren't cooking the books." On February 14, 2019, Boone was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.[14] In a statement to ArtNews, Boone said "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.” [15] She was released in 2021.


Artists who have been represented or shown by the Mary Boone Gallery include:

Representation in Film and Popular Media[edit]

Mary Boone was portrayed by Parker Posey in Julian Schnabel's 1996 biographical drama, Basquiat, accompanied by Dennis Hopper as Bischofberger.


  1. ^ Fischl, Eric (October 22, 2014). "Mary Boone". Interview. Archived from the original on November 13, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017. ...the 62-year-old Boone ... an Erie, Pennsylvania, native who moved to New York at the age of 19...
  2. ^ Freeman, Nate (February 14, 2019). "The Rise and Fall of the Queen of the New York Art World". Artsy. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  3. ^ "RISD XYZ Spring/Summer 2012". Issuu. Spring 2012. p. 73. Retrieved February 27, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Sayej, Nadja. "'I feel like a pariah' – how art dealer Mary Boone fell from grace". The Guardian. Retrieved January 3, 2023.
  5. ^ a b McGuigan, Cathleen (1985-02-85),"New Art, New Money". The New York Times, New Art, New Money
  6. ^ a b Raynor, Vivien (1984-05-11),"Art: Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat at Boone". The New York Times, [1]
  7. ^ Cottington, David, Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction, 2005, p35. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280364-6
  8. ^ a b Finke, Nikki (2005-11-17),"Blame Ovitz: When Art Started Imitating Hollywood", LA Weekly, [2]
  9. ^ Hofbauer, Anna Karina. "Basquiat Chronology". Bruno Bischoffberger. Galerie Bruno Bischoffberger.
  10. ^ Tittel, Cornelius (2006-05-14), "And then it went boom", Die Welt Am Sonntag. "Cornelius Tittel: And then it went boom - signandsight". Archived from the original on June 25, 2006. Retrieved June 16, 2006.
  11. ^ David Rimanelli (September 1, 1997). "Uptown girl: Mary Boone's new art gallery in uptown SoHo". Interior Design. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Haas, Nancy (2000-03-05), "Stirring Up the Art World Again". The New York Times, [3].
  13. ^ Patricia Hurtado and Katya Kazakina (September 6, 2018), Art Dealer Mary Boone Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Crimes, Daily Tax Report
  14. ^ "Gallerist Mary Boone Has Been Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison". February 15, 2019. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  15. ^ Russeth, Andrew. "Recently Sentenced New York Art Dealer Mary Boone Will Close Her Gallery". Art News. Art News. Retrieved January 3, 2023.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Interview Magazine". Interview Magazine. October 22, 2014.
  17. ^ Geers, David (2017-06-20),"Judith Barry, Mary Boone Gallery". Frieze Magazine, [4] Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  18. ^ Black, Hannah (2015-06-03),"Ericka Beckman, at Mary Boone." Art in America Magazine, [5] Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  19. ^ Bleckner, Ross (July 1, 2001). "Inka Essenhigh by Ross Bleckner". Bomb. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  20. ^ "The Process: Hilary Harkness". September 2011.
  21. ^ "Hilary Harkness Joins P.P.O.W. Gallery in New York". July 15, 2019.
  22. ^ " Magazine Features - Mary Boone's Chelsea Triumph". Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  23. ^ Stamler, Hannah (2017-03), "Allan McCollum, Mary Boone Gallery | Chelsea." Artforum, [6] Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  24. ^ a b (1982-04-19),"The New Queen of the Art Scene". New York
  25. ^ Knoblauch, Loring (2018-07-9),"Laurie Simmons, Clothes Make the Man: Works from 1990-1994 @Mary Boone." Collector Daily, [7] Retrieved February 14, 2019.

External links[edit]