Riga This Week - FREE RIGA CITY GUIDE made by locals since 1992

Boris Lurie and NO!art

"NO! NO! NO! to the conventional, to all the evil and despair that reign here, NO to conformism and materialism!" This sentence is published in the flyer of Boris Lurie (1924–2008) exhibition in The Gallery: Gertrude Stein in New York, 1963 and it depicts the exhibition dedicated to the NO!art movement that started in the late 1950s and early 60s as opposition to the trend of the commercialization of art. During the period 1959-1964, No!art became an important impetus for artists who would later become famous, such as Allan Kaprow (1927–2006), Yayoi Kusama (1929), Jean-Jacques Lebel (1936), Michelle Stuart (1938), Erro (1932), Wolf Vostell (1932–1998), and others. One of the initiators and founders of the movement is a former resident of Riga, Boris Lurie who, together with Sam Goodman (1919-1967) and Stanley Fischer (1926-1980), held politically and socially intense exhibitions in their March gallery in New York. In 1962, when Lurie meets an art collector and gallerist Gertrude Stein, she founds her gallery and continues working with NO!art artists for a while. Even the names of exhibitions are like the manifestos that "shout for everyone to hear" and demand to be involved: Vulgar Show, Involvement Show, Doom Show, NO! Show, No Sculptures/Shit Show.

Riga will have an opportunity to see a part of the previously mentioned exhibitions thanks to the Boris Lurie Art Foundation in New York, whose staff preserve, research, and promote the heritage of this unique artistic phenomenon. Boris Lurie and Gertrude Stein built lifelong relationship; she has been the founder and president of the Boris Lurie Art Foundation since 2008. And the question Boris Lurie asked in the context of Involvement Show held in 1961, "New borders ... old borders. Is it true that the whole world can be awakened by a single person?" is the fundamental question of this exhibition in 2019.

Ivonna Veiherte
Vita Birzaka, Art Museum RIGA BOURSE
Rafael Vostell, Boris Lurie Art Foundation