Colorful painting collage with the star of david and the text “A Jew is dead” repeated throughout the painting

No Compromises!

The Art of Boris Lurie

Lurie was an artist who demanded political relevance from art and the art market. His much-discussed and controversial works accused society of shirking coming to terms with its crimes against humanity by packaging evidence of them between advertising and everyday banalities.

The Jewish Museum Berlin presented a large retrospective of Boris Lurie, opening on 20 February 2016.

Past exhibition

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The Old Building is marked in green


Old Building, level 1
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

His collages confronted the viewer with society’s dubious attitude toward the Holocaust, provoking “horror and fascination” (in the words of Volkhard Knigge). Lurie's work reveals disgust toward a humanity that proved itself capable of exiling and murdering millions as well as revulsion against a self-satisfied art market more interested in financial profit than in artistic expression.

His drawings, however, strike a different tone. In his 1946 War Series, Lurie made an initial inventory of his own experience of persecution and camp imprisonment during the Nazi regime, while his Dancehall Series of the 1950s and 1960s depicts poetic images of his time.

The following picture gallery provides an overview of the various groups of Boris Lurie's works that were shown in our retrospective:

From the gallery opening on 25, February 2016: A greeting (in German) from Cilly Kugelmann, Program Director of the museum, and remarks about the exhibition (in English) from Anthony Williams, Boris Lurie Art Foundation; Jewish Museum Berlin

Lurie’s Life

Boris Lurie was born in 1924 to a Jewish family in Leningrad, grew up in Riga, and with his father survived the Stutthof and Buchenwald concentration camps. His mother, grandmother, younger sister, and childhood sweetheart were murdered in 1941 in a mass shooting. These experiences left a lasting impression on Boris Lurie's life.

In 1946, he immigrated to New York. In 1959, he founded the NO!art movement with a group of artist friends set against Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, but especially opposed to the economization of art and devoted to political issues such as racism, sexism, and consumerism.

Black and white portrait of Boris Lurie standing in his studio

Boris Lurie in his studio, 1957; Boris Lurie Art Foundation, New York – Photo: Betty Holiday

Boris Lurie died in New York on 7 January 2008.


The exhibition is organized in cooperation and with the generous support of the Boris Lurie Art Foundation in New York.

Exhibition Information at a Glance

  • When

    26 Feb to 31 Jul 2016

  • Where

    Old Building, level 1
    Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin
    See Location on Map

Boris Lurie (1924–2008)

More on Wikipedia


More on Wikipedia

Boris Lurie Art Foundation

On the Boris Lurie Art Foundation website, you can find more works by Boris Lurie, videos about and featuring Lurie, and much more:
a class="meta-box__link" href="" target="_blank" title="opens in a new window">Boris Lurie Art Foundation website

No Compromises! The Art of Boris Lurie

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