Mary Boone Arrested for Weapons Possession by Meredith Mendelsohn
Art dealer Mary Boone was arrested last night for unlawful distribution of ammunition, possession of unlawful weapons and for resisting arrest, in connection with artist Tom Sachs' "Haute Bricolage" show at Boone's Fifth Avenue gallery. The 48-year-old Boone, who rose to art-dealer-stardom in the 1980s, spent the night in jail at Manhattan Central Booking, and as of Thursday morning, is still being held, pending paperwork.
Sachs, whose work addresses issues of consumerism and violence, apparently got the dealer in trouble with his Alvar Aalto glass vase filled with live bullets on the reception desk, and a gun cabinet, called Ace Boone Coon, stocked with his signature home-made handguns. Visitors were invited to take home the ammo in orange air-sickness bags designed to look like Hermés shopping bags. The guns, which are made of wood and metal, were confiscated along with the bullets on Wednesday evening by police.
According to the New York Times, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms determined that the bullets were live before charging Boone with "unlawful possession and disposal of ammunition." After deciding that Sachs' guns are functional, police further charged Boone with criminal possession of a shotgun. All of the charges are misdemeanors.
Though the guns look very homemade, they might not resemble "art" as much as several handguns he made out of Chanel boxes in the past -- at least according to the police. Also included in the exhibition, which runs Sept. 10-Oct. 23, 1999, is a full-scale, foamcore model of an airplane lavatory and huge replicas of boomboxes.
The time of the arrest suspiciously coincides with the Mayor's assault on contemporary art and the Brooklyn Museum, but according to the Times, a spokeswoman for the police said "the two events were unrelated." Apparently the police were tipped off by a gallery-goer.
MEREDITH MENDELSOHN is associate editor of Artnet Magazine.