The Art of Boris Lurie
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.
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:
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.
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.