WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC in collaboration with Boris Lurie Art Foundation presents an exhibition of paintings, collage and sculpture by Boris Lurie (1924-2008), co-founder of the NO!art movement. In 2010 the gallery exhibited Boris’ early work, the first solo exhibition after the artist’s death. The current exhibition comprises a curated selection by James Cavello of over 60 works of art from the 1950s to 1970s.
Each decade of Boris Lurie’s life as an artist represented hard-hitting expression and a creative cathartic journey. After surviving the horrors of the Holocaust, including four different concentration camps from 1941-45 and the murder of his mother, sister, and grandmother, Boris and his father immigrated to New York City in 1946. The 22 year-old Boris immersed himself in his art and became a disruptor of norms.
Boris’ early 1950s paintings on dark backgrounds are reminiscent of German Expressionism with disproportionate, sometimes deformed fading images of women. On exhibit are four large paintings with groupings of two and three women. The female image was symbolic of life, family, death, sexuality and objectification. Boris’ 1960s collages using pin-ups from ‘girlie’ magazines were startlingly incorporated into Holocaust photographs. The shock of the combination of images stemmed from Boris’ malevolence and art purge of crimes against humanity.
As his frustration with the art world grew due to the focus on Abstract Expressionists and later Pop art, Boris co-founded the underground NO!art movement in 1959 with fellow artists Sam Goodman (1919-1967) and Stanley Fisher (1926-1980). In the exhibition are paintings and collage reflecting the anti-establishment attitude and Boris’ free form expression without commercial motivation. They encompass the artist’s views on politics, society, art, personal experiences and visceral expression. At the time, NO!art was largely rejected by art critics, museums and collectors, until the artists and artwork of NO!art became more understood in the historical context.
Also included in the exhibition are a series of 1963 collages fixated on altered images of the establishment male in a tie with faces painted over (‘Cabot Lodge’), as well as 1970s assemblages, such as the Star of David in hand-formed cement attached to rope, cement lettered NO!art bras, corset and a set of painted Israeli flags. All are symbolic of Boris’ intrinsic language. The assemblage sculptures allowed him to form media using his hands, but never to capitulate to art market sculptural commerce.
Boris Lurie’s work will also be on view in the exhibition, Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York, 1952-1965 at Grey Art Gallery, NYU, January 10- April 1, 2017. Boris’ artwork has been exhibited recently at Jewish Museum New York, Jewish Museum Berlin, Janco Dada Museum Israel, as well as galleries and museums in France, Russia, Spain, Italy, Germany, Washington DC, Indiana, Boston, Los Angeles and New York.
WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with essay by Robert C. Morgan.
The Boris Lurie Art Foundation is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting the artwork of Boris Lurie and NO!art artists.
Images © 2016 Boris Lurie Art Foundation