Boris Lurie (1924-2008) was the founder of the NO! ART movement. His artwork, stemming primarily from his disillusionment with the commercial art establishment as well as wartime and concentration camp memories, was exhibited by WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC. The exhibition, curated by James Cavello and accompanied by a catalogue, was the first exhaustive retrospective of this fascinating artist taking place after his death, and it included approximately 50 paintings, drawings, photo-montages and sculptures, some never exhibited before. Boris Lurie's heritage is preserved by the Boris Lurie Art Foundation.

NO!art, founded in 1960 by Lurie with Sam Goodman and Stanley Fisher, was primarily a strong reaction of the artists against the establishment. Its main intent was to address the less pleasant social realities, glossed over by the mainstream art, and to prompt for immediate action and social reform versus accepting the prevalent beautified version of reality. From such a platform, NO!art positioned itself directly in conflict with the glossy homage of consumerism celebrated by Pop art, and the already established high art, Abstract Expressionism, the two movements dominating the art scene at the time. As a result, the NO!art artists were largely ignored by the general public and the establishment, while gaining a cult following.

The theme choices often reference the historical context (sexual references hint to the mainstream repression at the time, as well as to the commercialization of sex, while the superimposition of war and extermination imagery stems from recent memories and from a need to shock in order to press for social reform). A NO!art artwork is definitely not a commodity or a decorative background, but more likely is meant to evoke wounds which are not healed, and which have been superficially hidden by the fabric of everyday life in 1960s US. In the same time, it represents a reaction against what the NO!art artists considered a fake, edulcorated version of events. The artworks incorporate photography, collage from newspapers and other sources, found objects and advertising banner words. One can see distorted female figures, obliterated faces, covered in scratches, words such as NO, AVOID, BLEED or SHARK BAIT. The surface of the artwork is not glossy, and the message is that another layer of disturbing imagery or information could exist in the social palimpsest, and it should be excavated. While the Dadaist and Surrealist filiation is evident, there is also a desperate need for authenticity and confronting life without attempting to hide its dark sides, and to prompt the public to accept the need for social reform and openness as a cure for alienation.



Bio & Exhibition HistoryHIDE

Boris Lurie



1950  Boris Lurie, Creative Gallery, New York

1951  Dismembered Figures, Barbizon Plaza Galleries, New York

1958  Black Figures, March Gallery, New York

1959  Drawings USA, Museum of Contemporary Art, New York

          10th Street, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston

1960 Dance Hall Series, D’Arcy Galleries, New York /

          Adieu Amerique, Roland de Aenlle Gallery, New York

          Les Lions, March Gallery, New York

          Tenth Street New York Cooperative, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

          Vulgar Show, March Gallery, New York / Joe Marino’s Atelier, New York

1961 Pinup Multiplications, D’Arcy Galleries, New York / Involvement Show, March Gallery, New York

          Doom Show, March Gallery, New York

1962 Sam Goodman &  Boris Lurie, Gallery Schwarz, Milan

          Multiplications, D’Arcy Gallery, New York / DOOM Show, Gallery La Salita, Rome

1963 NO!show, Gallery Gertrude Stein, New York / Boris Lurie, Gallery Gertrude Stein, New York

1964 NO Posters / ANTI-POP Poster Show, Gallery Gertrude Stein, New York

1970 Art and Politics, Kunstverein Karlsruhe

1973 NO!art Paintings seit 1959, Gallery René Block, Berlin / Gallery Giancarlo Bocchi, Milan

1974 Boris Lurie at Inge Baecker, Inge Baecker Gallery, Bochum

          NO!art-Bags, Gallery and Edition Hundertmark, Cologne

          Boris Lurie and Wolf Vostell, Gallery Rewelsky, Cologne

          NO!art: Boris Lurie, Sam Goodman, Marcel Janco, Ein-Hod-Museum, Ein-Hod, Israel

1975  Recycling Exhibition, Israel Museum, Jerusalem

1978  Countercultural Art (with Erro and Jean-Jacques Lebel), American Information Service, Paris

1988 Feel-Paintings, Gallery and Edition Hundertmark, Cologne

1989  Graffiti-Art, Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden

1993  Outlaw Art Show, Clayton Gallery, New York

1994  NO!art (with Isser Aronovici and Aldo Tambellini), Clayton Gallery, New York

1995 NO!art, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin

          Boris Lurie und NO!art, Haus am Kleistpark, Berlin

          Dance Hall Series, endart Gallery, Berlin

          Holocaust in Latvia, Jewish Culture House, Riga

1998  NO!art Show # 3 with Kirves, Patterson & Vostell, Janos Gat Gallery, New York

1999 Works 1946-1998, Weimar-Buchenwald Memorial, Weimar, Germany

          Life - Terror - Mind, Buchenwald Memorial, Weimar, Germany

          Knives in Cement, South River Gallery (UIMA), Iowa City

2001 NO!art and the Aesthetics of Doom, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art

          Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

2002 NO!art and the Aesthetics of Doom, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, IA

2004  Feel-Paintings/ NO!art Show No 4, Janos Gat Gallery, New York 

          Optimistic - Disease - Facility, Boris Lurie: Buchenwald - New York with

          Naomi T. Salmon at Haus am Kleistpark, Berlin-Schöneberg 

2005  The 80s, Clayton Gallery & Outlaw Art Museum, New York

2010  Boris Lurie: NO!art. An exhibition of Early Work, WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC

2011  Boris Lurie: NO!art. Pierre Menard Gallery, Cambridge, MA

          NO!art at the Barricades, Chelsea Museum

          Art Hamptons, WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC

          Art Miami, WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC



Past Exhibitions

NO! ART: paintings, drawings, photomontages, sculptures
Art Wynwood 2013

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