My essay will attempt to put the shows of the March and Stein Galleries, which are the subject of this book, into meaningful perspective, employing a rather free style and an autobiographical persona. Neat! Interspersed between the next paragraphs will be headlines from the period 1959 - 1964. One thesis of the essay will be that the creators of the Shit Show, the Doom Show, the Vulgar Show, etc., were highly imaginative and prophetic in their concepts. They were to pronounce a total pessimism in the early sixties, while most of us were intoxicated by the ecstasy of civil rights, freedom rides and John Kennedy. These artists saw ahead of most of us, and penetrated through that ambiguity which characterized so much social thinking in the beginning of that "slum of a decade." The March Gallery shows were ahead of their time, and time has caught up.
It will also be argued that the March Gallery scene was not an example of anti-art but was based on assumptions that attributed to art nothing less than its most noble purposes. The communication of the 10th Street scene was rejected, of course, but the features of much of the work was utilized by other artists whose content was not threatening, bringing several much success.
Throughout this essay, and as the above points are discussed, the reader will be conducted through a trip of the events and moods of our society which lead to the contemporary NO! - and which make the March Gallery shows relevant today.
in: Lurie, Boris; Krim, Seymour: NO!art, Cologne 1988