Is it a steady string of contradictions, or a defiance that coats and cuts the air shouting for ideals while playing the game and accepting the winnings that may come of it? Such might be the case for the artist Boris Lurie whose work rebelled against the art market while simultaneously placing his hand in the stock market, which left him with 80 million dollars in investments at time of his death. Or perhaps these markets are different matters entirely, and how are we to compare the oranges of the Art Market to the apples of the Stock Market? Though one thing is certain that today these two markets operate on similar planes as the upper tiers of wealth and people controlling the wealth in both markets are overlapping and continuously disproportionate to the majority, and such brings up a grave problem that still needs to be seriously and closely speculated. It is such speculations, such questions that became the role of the artists in the NO! art movement (http://www.no-art.info/index.html) as they transformed their defiant message into words and politically poignant art forms.
Who is running the art market today and is anyone saying no any more to such markets? Can we say no anymore or are we at the wits of complacency where are all secretly waiting to place our hold in the game and bring back our winnings so we too can take part in the American Dream. The one with a home, financial security, and a family. The one that might shift our unconventional stabs of being an artist into a convention we still desire or, rather, hold a right to. As artists do we have to forfeit these rights and dreams and can we still hold such a defiant stance against the art market, the world, while permitting our own hands to the luxuries of success?
It is these questions and problematic of the current art world and our continued American obsession of consumerism that arise with the violent and prolific gestures of the past in the current exhibition at The Box, The Three Prophets: Stanley Fisher, Sam Goodman and Boris Lurie, who together are the three founders of the NO!art movement. The associated work, on display in Los Angeles for the first time, uses self-expression and personal tribulations to explore and respond to the political situations at hand, probing the personal and political as one. With Boris Lurie acting as ringleader, himself, Stanley Fisher and Sam Goodman founded the movement in 1959 in New York City, exploring pain and pitfalls of American consumerism in reaction to the commercialization occurring towards Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art at the time.
This work, despite its being a calling from the past, brings up pressing and relevant questions around the art world today and the artists voice. My hope is that such work opens up questions, a simple reminder from the past that propels us into new terrain and places out of complacency and into demands, demands of idealism and equality. And if all else fails a demanding pursuit into the realm of trials as even if the objects collect dust, as they might possibly will, the words, the fragments of the past, can string us into a present reminder and move towards a different version of the future than what appears to be our current direction of decline. The objects, the art, in such cases become irrelevant to the strings they are hitting. As noted in the words of the late Boris Lurie the NO!art movement lives on as “The ‘cutting-off’ date 1964” of the NO!Art movement “as espoused by the art historian is entirely artificial.”
This exhibition closed tomorrow June 15, 2013. If your in the Los Angeles area, find time to see this exhibition before it’s too late.
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-Contributed by Brigitte Nicole Grice