For 25 years, James Meyer worked as an assistant for Jasper Johns. One of his duties was to watch over a drawer of Johns' unfinished works that were not yet authorized to go on the market. According to the indictment from the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, Meyer may have been dipping his fingers into that off-limits drawer. The Attorney's Office has charged Meyer with selling 22 of these unauthorized works to a gallery in Manhattan between 2006 and 2012 without Johns' permission.
The shady business gets shadier; Meyer stipulated that the paintings sold to the unnamed gallery had to remain under wraps for 8 years, neither exhibited nor resold. Gallerist points out that this could have been a way for Meyer to make sure he didn't get caught. But his alleged backdoor deals may have just caught up with him. If found guilty, Meyer may be looking at 30 years in prison.
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