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The Center for Contemporary Political Art (CCPArt), the United States’ only nonprofit arts institution dedicated exclusively to showing political art, just opened a ground-breaking three-month retrospective exhibition of Boris Lurie’s political art, including his controversial masterpiece, Lumumba is Dead (Adieu Amerique), from 1959-1961.
A contemporary of Rauschenberg, Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Johns, Boris Lurie arrived in New York in 1946, having survived nearly four years in Hitler’s concentration camps. He was just 21.
Over the next 60 years, his art became his life, his refuge, his therapy, and his means of protesting the racism, anti-Semitism, and social hypocrisy he encountered in the United States, such as its Cold War nuclear rivalry with the Soviet Union and its interventionist policies abroad. In 1959, Lurie, Sam Goodman, and Stanley Fisher founded the NO!art movement, reflecting Lurie’s views that artists should use their talent to protect and defend the interests of the people in the communities and countries where they live.
This exhibition, a retrospective look at Lurie’s political art created between 1959 and 1964, shows the breadth and depth of his concerns.
At this difficult time in our history, it is our hope that Boris Lurie’s legacy, art, and courage will serve as an inspiration for artists everywhere to express their political views in their art in order to increase awareness and understanding of the political issues we’re confronted with today.
Boris Lurie in America: He Had the Courage to Say NO! continues at CCPArt (916 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20001) through April 26, 2020. To learn more, visit politicsart.us.org/events/boris-lurie-exhibit.
Admission is free.
CCPArt thanks the Boris Lurie Art Foundation (BLAF) and especially its president, Gertrude Stein, for making this exhibition possible.