And Warren Niesłuchowski Was There: Guest, Host, Ghost, on view now through November 6, explores the notion of hospitality through the figure of Warren Niesłuchowski (1946–2019), one of the most charismatic and eccentric figures in the art world. Niesłuchowski was many things at once: an exhilarating conversationalist, a polymath, an attentive companion of artists, a networker without status, and a dandy, to name a few. But from 2003 until his death, he also had no home of his own, instead traveling cheaply from city to city to live as the guest of others. As he himself used to say, his life was that of a “guest, host, ghost.”
Curated by Joanna Warsza and Sina Najafi, the exhibition at Cabinet New York focuses on Niesłuchowski’s homeless years and features his email correspondence with friends, many of them remarkable intellectuals and artists; a number of artworks made about, or in partnership with, Niesłuchowski; and documentation of his travels. The emails are also marked by the emotional burden of being perpetually on the road and looking for what Niesłuchowski called “an adoption by an imaginary family.”
In some sense, Niesłuchowski inherited his fundamental sense of dislocation. He was born Jerzy, later George, to Polish parents in 1946 in a displaced persons camp near Munich. Five years later, his family emigrated to the US. In 1968, after being drafted to serve in Vietnam, George fled to Paris, where a lucky encounter with an Englishman allowed him to travel under a false passport until the US government offered deserters amnesty. This drive toward a peripatetic existence found its fullest expression in the last 16 years of his life, after he gave up his apartment, opting instead for a life dependent on negotiating the complexities of hospitality on a daily basis.
For more information, visit cabinetmagazine.org.
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