IN CONVERSATION WITH BORIS LURIE | Published in: neue bildende Kunst, Zeitschrift für Kunst und Kritik, Nr. 1/95, Berlin 1995 | “It is extremely difficult to produce a kind of art that history will pass over in silence, that the art magazines will dismiss, that will embarrass collectors and be offensive to most other artists. The Lurie-Goodman-Fisher activities in the March Gallery and later in the Gertrude Stein Gallery succeeded in achieving this large negative.” (Brian O’Doherty, 1971). In the 60s founders of NO!art Boris Lurie, Sam Goodman and Stanley Fisher developed a provocative alternative to the “optimism of the cheerful Pop production” (Wolf Vostell) by radically performing SHIT SHOW 1964 at March Gallery, New York and at the Gertrude Stein Gallery later. A today really ignored chapter of American art has arisen after the experience with the Holocaust and the disgust concerning the affirmative practice of art, a “strategic juncture where artistic production meets socio-cultural action.”
Dietmar Kirves: Boris, you already look back at seventy years of life. You were born in Leningrad in 1924. The time during the revolution in Russia was the peak of contemporary history. Your parents emigrated to Latvia with you. There the barbarous Nazi separated your family in the ghetto of Riga. You were 17 years old. You got number 95966 in the concentration camp in Buchenwald. You survived the horror at the age of twenty-one. Your eyes seem full of grief, death and massacres. You went to New York then. At that point of time the patina-formed Statue of Liberty already has been standing around there for 60 years. Weren’t you frightened by the affluence you met there? How did your idea occur to make paintings? Haven’t you been able to get rid of your impressions? Has it been your intention to illustrate the chaos? Did you intend to show the development of mankind facing the atomic bomb on Hiroshima?
Boris Lurie: Yes, Dietmar, it had been a revolutionary time then. I’ve gone through it all. I have started painting very early. My early works got lost in the destruction of the ghetto in Riga in December 1941. Then I worked as prisoner in Riga at the Wehrmacht as sign painter and for decoration. Later, in the concentration camps, I had no longer been working, of course. I went to New York because my sister lived there during that time. Actually, I wanted to continue my art work there. I had no program to show something to the public. But, after I first had started to paint my Infories of the concentration camps as “non-taught” artist in my way, studying arts I found out that the art world aesthetically and even practically is in control with all the tricks of the trade. First I thought that the experts and authorities exactly knew what belongs to great art and what does not. The inspiration just occurred later to me that this is not true. And then I’ve got something to tell you: With art I couldn’t gain any money for living. I didn’t manage to make good-selling art to earn my living due to a lack of talent. Practically, this brought me into a class state. My further actions were motivated by this and started from this platform. The artists wanting to carry on like me had moved to the most poor areas of New York. And this was the Lower East Side. 15 Dollars rent per month. No hot water and no electricity at all. One automatically turned out to be member of the low class of society. more
IN CONVERSATION WITH ALDO TAMBELLINI | Videodocumentary, Cambridge 2010 | Aldo speaks about Lower East Side + Rental Prices + March Gallery + Boris Lurie + NO!art + Political Art + Sam Goodman + Stanley Fisher + Jean-Jacques Lebel + Shit Show + Stock Exchange + NO!art antholgy + Screw Performance + Political Poetry + Black and White Films + NO!box + Howl Festival + Poets Against Killing Fields + Reads One Of His Poems... more.