Mary Boone’s decision to close her galleries as she awaits her 30-month jail sentence for tax evasion brings to at least a temporary close one of the most public and successful careers in art dealing. Gallery 98 has dug deep into its inventory of announcement cards, posters and art publications to assemble this online exhibition spotlighting some of the key moments in her gallery’s fabled history.
Boone literally started at the bottom, taking a tiny ground floor space in Soho’s most prestigious building, 420 West Broadway. She was soon collaborating with her upstairs neighbor, the legendary Leo Castelli. The two galleries’ joint exhibition of Julian Schnabel in 1981 was a major event that not only launched Schnabel’s career, but also brought attention to Boone’s gallery and helped publicize “neo-expressionism” as the most prominent new art style of the 80’s.
The Boone Gallery would secure its place in the art world when it moved across the street to 417 West Broadway transforming a large garage space into an elegant minimalist gallery. Here Boone continued to represent Schnabel, along with others like David Salle, Eric Fischl, Ross Bleckner, and for a brief period Jean-Michel Basquiat. She also exhibited Sigmar Polke, Jörg Immendorf, Francesco Clemente and other leading neo-expressionists from Europe, working with her then husband Michael Werner, an established German art dealer.
Since 2000, Boone has worked out of lavish galleries on 5th Avenue and in Chelsea. While most of the artists she is associated with will continue exhibiting elsewhere (Ross Bleckner is currently showing at the Petzel Gallery), it is hard to imagine a Chelsea art stroll without a stop at her gallery.