Boris Lurie

1924 (Leningrad) - 2008 (New York)

Artist and Writer

"True dedication is not possible in the ivory tower. In a time of war and destruction, aesthetic gymnastics and decorative punctuations are inappropriate."

Boris Lurie was born in Leningrad on 18 July 1924 and grew up in Riga. Riga became a ghetto in 1941. He was deported and sent from one labour or concentration camp to the next, including Lenta and Stutthof. His mother and one of his sisters were shot to death during SS task force raids. On 19 November 1944, Boris Lurie and his father were committed to the Polte Works near Magdeburg, a Buchenwald subcamp; he was liberated in April 1945.

In 1946, Lurie emigrated to New York and became an artist; he had a studio on the Lower East Side. In the mid fifties he lived in Paris, then returned to New York, where he and the artists Sam Goodman and Stanley Fisher founded the March Group in 1959, from which the NO! art movement developed. The latter was a radical movement opposing Pop Art, commercialized avant-garde art and the consumerist fixation of American capitalism. The March Group endeavoured to bring real life into the galleries with "shit shows" and pornographic collages.

Following the group’s dissolution in the mid sixties, Lurie continued the tradition in his own way with expressionistic collages made from photos, texts, painting, wax, fabrics, etc., in which he frequently integrated his experiences of the Nazi camps. Following his last exhibitions in New York in 1964, he showed his art in Italy, Germany and France. In 1995 his work was presented in the Berlin gallery of the Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst in Berlin, in 1998/99 at the art museum of Buchenwald Memorial. From the mid 1950s onward, he also wrote poetry, which was first published in the summer of 1999. He did not sell his art, but secured a living for himself by speculating on the New York Stock Exchange.

Boris Lurie died in New York City on 7 January 2008.