in News | 07 SEP 18

Art Dealer Mary Boone Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud; Says ‘This is the Worst Day of my Life’

And in further news: gender disparity at Rencontres d’Arles; London’s Royal Academy to be flooded with water and mud

in News | 07 SEP 18

Mary Boone, 2009. Courtesy: Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; photograph: Billy Farrell

Veteran New York art dealer Mary Boone has pleaded guilty to charges of tax fraud. ‘This is the worst day of my life,’ Boone said in a statement. ‘I have learned from my mistake and I am working very hard to put it behind me.’ The 66-year-old will appear in court in January for sentencing. She faces up to six years in jail. Authorities say that Boone reported a business loss of USD$52,000 for the 2011 fiscal year, when in fact she had made a profit of USD$3.7 milion. The gallerist reported USD$1.6 million in personal expenses, including an USD$800,000 upgrade to her Manhattan residence, as business deductions. Court papers say she ‘falsely characterized’ such expenses – for instance, her labellling of a USD$500,000 payment to a remodelling contractor as an artist ‘commission.’ Boone will pay a restitution of USD$3 million to the Internal Revenue Service, as a result of engaging in fraudulent behaviour in her income tax returns for 2009, 2010 and 2011. Boone was recently sued over the sale of a Ross Bleckner painting by the actor Alec Baldwin, who claimed the work was a fake – they settled last year for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.

​An open letter signed by leading cultural figures has called out the gender disparity at this year’s photography festival Les Rencontres d’Arles in France. Published in the newspaper Libération, the letter has criticized the fact that just 3 out of 15 monographic shows feature women photographers, and said that festival director Sam Stourdzé was perpetuating an ‘androcentric vision of art.’ Signatories include Whitechapel Gallery director Iwona Blazwick, and artists Orlan and Martha Rosler. They are demanding that the festival ensure a gender balance for next year’s edition.

London’s Royal Academy of Arts is to flood one of its main galleries with seawater and mud, for a major 2019 exhibition of Antony Gormley. Artistic director Tim Marlow commented: ‘We are making a show collaboratively with a great artist to present something in those great galleries. The exhibition will be punctuated by a series of full-bodied immersive installations but we still have a year to go and we will keep fine-tuning.’ Gormley has described his installation Host (1991) for which he originally poured mud and water into a disused jail in Charleston, South Carolina, as ‘a primal soup brought within the frame of a museum.’

The press view for the new Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art in London was interrupted by students protesting on behalf of the university’s cleaning staff. Demonstrators covered up the gallery’s sign with a banner which read: ‘Who keeps the cube white?’ The Justice for Cleaners campaign is drawing attention to what it sees as mistreatment of cleaning staff at Goldsmiths, outsourced through the cleaning company ISS. Campaigners are calling for the university to bring employment in-house. According to The Art Newspaper, head of the university’s art department Richard Noble described the protests as ‘fairly typical for Goldsmiths.’ Artist Mika Rottenberg, whose show inaugurates the new gallery, has expressed solidarity with campaigners. The university says that it is reconsidering its cleaning contracts.

The future of Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, which was forced to close for three months following the fire at the Glasgow School of Art, is on a ‘knife edge’. According to A-N News, the venue has now been told by the city council that it remain closed indefinitely, despite the expectation that it reopen this month. CCA director Francis McKee told A-N News that the organization had ‘reached the end of its cash flow’ after months of closure. The council denies that it set out a firm timetable for reopening.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is to host a Chanel fashion show this December. The fashion house will take its ‘Métiers d’Art’ runway to the arts institution on 4 December – the first fashion show to be hosted at the Met since a Valentino presentation in 1982. It is not yet known whether the museum will close to the public in order to hold the event, or if it will take place outside of opening hours. As Artnet News notes, London’s National Gallery was recently singled out for criticism when it closed for a day in order to accomodate an Erdem fashion show.

Sweden’s Moderna Museet has returned a 1910 Oskar Kokoschka work, confiscated by the Nazis, to the heirs of Alfred Flechtheim. The Jewish dealer and gallery owner fled Nazi Germany in 1933, with his collection sold off. The painting is a portrait of Marquis Jodeph de Montesquiou-Fezensac. Museum director Daniel Birnbaum commented: ‘We are happy and relieved the Kokoschka painting now returns to its true owner.’

In gallery news: Almine Rech Gallery has announced global representation of the estate of American painter Vivian Springford; New York’s Kasmin gallery has named Tianyue Jiang as director, where she will be responsible for the gallery’s strategy in Asia; London’s Flowers Gallery has appointed Jennifer Francis as its director of global operations; Beau Rutland and Lindsay Charlwood join Matthew Marks Gallery as director of exhibitions and director of the gallery’s Los Angeles operations; and Gladys Lin will take up the position of director of Sean Kelly Asia.

And in further appointments and announcements: Salzburg’s Museum der Moderne has named Thorsten Sadowsky as its new director; Munich’s Haus der Kunst has appointed Jana Baumann as senior curator; London’s Southbank Centre has announced Madani Younis as creative director, succeeding Jude Kelly – he takes up the position in January 2019; and the Nordic Pavilion for the 58th Venice Biennale has been announced – with participating artists Janne Nabb and Maria Teeri, Ane Graff, and Ingela Ihrman. Titled ‘Weather Report: Forecasting Future’, it will be curated by Leevi Haapala and Piia Oksanen.