Art Industry News: Inside the Rise and Fall of Disgraced Art Dealer Mary Boone + Other Stories

Plus, the Smithsonian acquires an unseen photograph of Harriet Tubman and the man who led Christie’s Salvator Mundi marketing blitz is joining Bonhams.

Portrait of American art dealer Mary Boone as she sits in her Soho gallery, New York, New York, May 21, 1992. Photo: Michel Delsol/Getty Images.

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know this Friday, March 22.


SFMOMA Plans a Major JR Mural – The French street artist will unveil an animated mural titled The Chronicles of San Francisco at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on May 23. The work is inspired by Diego Rivera, who completed four murals in the city in 1931. JR’s project will share images, footage, and interviews he collected of more than 1,200 locals over two months last year. (Press release)

Why the MFA Fair Is a Bad Idea – Not everyone is thrilled about the launch of the new MFA Fair in New York this fall, where schools will set up shop to offer recent graduates’ work. Artist and educator Sharon Louden thinks the plan sets up unrealistic expectations for students. “Sales provide just one piece of the puzzle to sustaining the creative life of an artist,” she writes. “The reality is that for 99 percent of us, selling work creates an unpredictable and temporary income stream—at best.” Instead of investing in an art fair, art schools should be investing in professional development programs, diversifying the faculty, attracting visiting artists, “or simply adding to their scholarship funds,” she writes. (Hyperallergic)

What Happened to Mary Boone? – The Guardian charts the rise and fall of New York art dealer Mary Boone, who plans to close her gallery on April 27 and begin serving her two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for tax evasion in May. Back in the ’80s, Boone seemed unstoppable. She championed younger artists and was known for paying them promptly, issuing invoices the second a sale was confirmed. “She pioneered what we do today, she set the mold,” said the New York dealer Marc Wehby. “There was nobody bigger than her in the 1980s.” (Guardian)

The FBI Tracks Down a Nazi-Looted Painting – The FBI art crime squad has helped track down a painting that has been missing from a Ukraine museum since World War II. Prosecutors are now seeking a court order to seize the French painting stolen by the Nazis around 1943. Pierre Louis Goudreaux’s An Amorous Couple resurfaced in 2013, having been retitled A Loving Glance, on the website of an unnamed New York auction house after it was consigned by an American art dealer. (Radio Free Europe)


Bonhams Lures Marketing Chief From Christie’s – Big news in the art marketing world: The man who led Christie’s Salvator Mundi marketing blitz is joining Bonhams. Marc Sands, who left Christie’s last summer after four years, will be the new chief marketing officer at the London auction house, which was bought by a private equity firm last fall. Before Christie’s, Sands worked at the Guardian and Tate. (Press release)

Artory Acquires Auction Club Database – The blockchain-backed digital art registry, Artory, has acquired the sales database of Auction Club, a database that hosts sales information from 4,000 auction houses worldwide. Artory will add the auction records to its blockchain registry of sale histories and provenance information. The data is expected to be incorporated in May. (The Art Newspaper)

Boothless Frieze Week Fair Reveals Exhibitor List – The new Brooklyn art and design fair Objects & Thing, led by Frieze alumna Abby Bangser, has an all-star—and petite—exhibitor list. The 32 international galleries slated to participate in the inaugural edition include Blum & Poe, Pace, Hauser & Wirth, and Kayne Griffin Corcoran. The fair runs from May 3 through 5 to coincide with Frieze New York. (ARTnews)


Getty Appoints Curator of African American Art – LeRonn P. Brooks will take up the newly created position of associate curator for modern and contemporary collections at the Getty Research Institute, specializing in African American art. Brooks, who currently serves as assistant professor of Africana studies at Lehmann College in New York, is the first hire as part of the museum’s new African American art history initiative. He starts his new role in June. (ARTnews)

Hirshhorn Picks Up Some Corcoran Works  Around a third of the 30 works that Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has recently acquired hail from the collection of the former Corcoran Gallery of Art. Works by Sam Gilliam and Harvey Quaytman will enter the collection from that donation; the institution has also acquired works by Georg Baselitz and Charline von Heyl. (Press release)

Library of Congress Acquires O’Keeffe-Stieglitz Letters – The institution has acquired a trove of letters from Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband, the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and their friend Henwar Rodakiewicz. The 157 missives date from 1929 to 1947. “I got an order for a big flower painting for Elizabeth Arden. Got it myself,” writes O’Keeffe. “Now I’ve got to get the painting done. Maybe I’ve been absurd about wanting to do a big flower painting, but I’ve wanted to do it and that is that. I’m going to try. Wish me luck.” (Art Daily)

Mike Kelley Foundation Adds New Board Member  Los Angeles philanthropist Claire Peeps is the newest board member of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, which provides grants for artistic projects. Peeps currently serves as the executive director of the Durfee Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to “people who are making a better Los Angeles.” (Press release)


Luc Tuymans Tries His Hand at Not Painting – The prolific Belgian artist, who is often credited with bringing back painting from the dead in 1980s and who has had 150 solo shows in the past three decades, is the subject of a major retrospective at Palazzo Grassi in Venice. For this one, Tuymans is trying something new: the centerpiece of the show is a massive mosaic, not a painting. The exhibition, “La Pelle,” will be on view from March 24 through January 6, 2020. (NYT)

Mapping Asia’s Museum Boom – China’s museum boom has been unprecedented. With the addition of the new Tanks Shanghai, there will be 27 major contemporary art spaces across the country. Across Asia, numerous other private and a few public art museums have opened, too. Ahead of Art Basel Hong Kong, they have been mapped by Art Agency, Partners. In Hong Kong, the highly anticipated, long delayed M+ museum is nearly built and is due to open in 2020. (In Other Words)

Iranian Artists Star in Collateral Venice Biennale Event  Nine Iranian artists will feature in an exhibition inspired by classical Persian poetry and organized by London’s Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art. Curated by Ziba Ardalan, “THE SPARK IS YOU: Parasol unit in Venice” will be hosted at the Conservatorio di Musica in Venice between May 9 and November 23. (Press release)

Smithsonian Unveils Unseen Harriet Tubman Photo – An image of Harriet Tubman—jointly acquired two years ago by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Library of Congress from the collection of Quaker abolitionist Emily Howland—shows a relaxed and quite stylish side of the fierce abolitionist, who played a vital role in the foundation and maintenance of the Underground Railroad. Tubman was around 40 at the time the image was taken. (TAN)

Portrait of Harriet Tubman, Powelson Photographer at 77 Genessee St. Auburn. NY in 1868. (Photo courtesy Library of Congress/Getty Images)

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