"No Compromises! The Art of Boris Lurie"

Press Invitation

Press Release, 11 February 2016

Duration: 26 February to 31 July 2016

The Jewish Museum Berlin is presenting a large retrospective of the artist Boris Lurie, of the NO!art movement, opening on 26 February 2016. With the exhibition, the museum is inviting visitors to discover an uncompromising artist and his very timely body of work, some of it on display for the first time. Like almost no one else, Boris Lurie sought to grapple radically through art with the Holocaust and the twentieth century. Denouncing racism, sexism, and consumer culture, he produced works that were at once contradictory and disturbing. The exhibition presents an over-arching view of Lurie’s œuvre, as obsessive as it is controversial, in fifteen rooms. More than 200 collages, drawings, paintings, assemblages and sculptures, from every period of his career, will be shown in over 650 square meters of gallery space.

Katharina Schmidt-Narischkin
Senior Press Officer
+49 (0)30 259 93 419
+49 (0)30 259 93 400

Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
Lindenstraße 9–14
10969 Berlin

Lurie was a survivor of the Riga Ghetto and multiple concentration camps. His dramatic and enraged works cry out for a societal moral reckoning with these crimes against humanity. As a co-founder and leading spokesperson for the New York–based NO!art movement, Boris Lurie protested the mainstream contemporary art world from the 1950s onwards, becoming an artistic and social outsider. His collages combining historical photos of the Holocaust with pin-up photos from American magazines provoked consternation and fascination. In them he coupled his disgust for a humanity capable of displacing and murdering millions en masse with his abhorrence for a superficial and smug art business. His answer to both: "NO!"

Invitation to Press Conference Preceded by Exhibition Viewing

Date: Thursday, 25 February 2015
Accreditation and preview: 11 am to 12 pm
Press conference begins: 12 pm
Subsequent tour with curator: approx. 12:30 pm
Location: Old Building, first level, Education room
Please allow sufficient time for security checks at the entrance.

Press Conference Participants:

Cilly Kugelmann, Program Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin
Anthony Williams, Boris Lurie Art Foundation, New York

In attendance:
Helmuth Braun, exhibition project manager and curator, Jewish Museum Berlin
Holzer Kobler Architekturen Berlin GmbH, exhibition design and production


For planning purposes, please confirm your participation by email or phone by Tuesday, 23 February 2016.
Interview requests must be arranged with the Press and Public Relations office in advance.

Press Initial Background Information

"I would have liked to make pretty pictures, but something always stopped me."

Boris Lurie was born in 1924 into a well-to-do family in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and grew up in Riga. Together with his father, he survived the Stutthof and Buchenwald concentration camps. His mother, grandmother, younger sister, and the love of his youth were murdered in 1941 in a mass shooting. These experiences would leave an enduring mark on Lurie’s life and art. In 1946, Lurie emigrated to New York with his father. There, in the late 1950s, he and a group of his artist friends founded the NO!art movement. Today he is considered one of its principle exponents. Countless trips took him to Europe, Israel, and back to his hometown of Riga. Boris Lurie died on 7 January 2008 in New York. Since 2010, the Boris Lurie Art Foundation has been devoted to the preservation and promotion of Boris Lurie’s work and the No!art movement.


The NO!art movement, founded in 1959 by Boris Lurie, Stanley Fisher, and Sam Goodman, was conceived as a countermovement to popular schools of art such as Abstract Expressionism, Neo-Dada, and Andy Warhol’s Pop Art. The group of painters, writers, feminists, and political activists decried an increasingly banal and commercial art business. With exhibitions such as Vulgar Show, Involvement Show, and No!Show, they demanded critical engagement with current political and social themes instead of with artistic fads devoid of content. Art critics and dealers responded dismissively, and Lurie and his group in turn rejected the art market, exhibiting solely at the Gertrude Stein Gallery in the Upper East Side. The NO!art movement ended in 1964. After that, Lurie turned primarily to writing poetry and his novel House of Anita.

Exhibition dates: 26 February to 31 July 2016
Location: Old Building, 1st floor
Admission: With museum ticket (8 euros, reduced rate 3 euros)

The program of accompanying events will be presented during the press conference.

Press images for attributed use are available for download at www.jmberlin.de/lurie-pressefotos.

For more information, see: www.jmberlin.de/lurie

The exhibition catalog No Compomises! The Art of Boris Lurie, edited by Cilly Kugelmann on behalf of the Jewish Museum Berlin, has been published by Kerber Verlag (176 pages with 200 full-color illustrations, in German and English editions. Bookstore price: 36 euros; museum price: 29 euros). At the press conference, you can purchase the catalog at the price of 10 euros.

Media Partners
Wall AG
monopol – Magazin für Kunst und Leben

The exhibition is a collaboration with the Boris Lurie Art Foundation in New York and is presented thanks to the foundation’s generous support.

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