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E-MAIL CONVERSATIONS: WARREN NIESŁUCHOWSKI

The Homeless Years, 2003–2019

  • Nov 25 2020
  • María Inés Plaza Lazo
    likes to develop curatorial and communication strategies for others, individuals and institutions. She grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, lives and works between the streets of Berlin and the world.

A year after Warren’s passing, his friends Joanna Warsza and Sina Najafi dedicated a book full of correspondences and exhibitions to him. On December 4th, the Foksal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw will open the second iteration of And Warren Niesłuchowski Was There: Ontological nomad, guest, host, ghost, an open archive and telephone book of all the people Warren Nieuchoswski stayed with.

After losing his place in New York, Warren started a new life, driven by disownership and the strength gathered from early experiences of displacement. He was born Jerzy, later George or “Jeż,” to Polish parents in 1946 in a displaced persons camp near Munich. Five years later, his family emigrated to the United States, where they settled down in New Bedford, Massachusetts. In 1968, after being drafted to serve in Vietnam, George deserted the army and fled the country for Paris. There, a lucky encounter with a friendly Englishman named Warren, who was prepared to offer him his passport, meant that he could continue to evade the US government. 

Long before, George—now Warren, having placed his own photo in the British passport—had joined the legendary Bread and Puppet Theater on their trip to Iran. His drive toward a peripatetic existence was to find its fullest expression in the last sixteen years of his life, after he gave up his New York apartment and began to live as a perpetual guest of friends and acquaintances across North America and Europe. I had the chance to meet Warren briefly during his genius accompaniment of the curators working in the perennial festival Public Art Munich, experiencing the unusual empathy of someone who knows how to make vulnerability a somewhat light state of mind.

„Are you ok?”, he asked after a few beers and just 30 minutes of conversation. The indescribable generosity of this question was embodied by this wonderful gentleman who knew how to listen and be friends with many; always between true curiosity and the need to figure out where he would spend the night. The selection of letters shared with you here are a glimpse into the witty, thoughtful and beautiful ways Warren passed through the lives of many intellectuals and strangers around the world.

 

Warren as an extra. Film still from Low Down, 2014, directed by Jeff Preiss.

 

Sylvère got drunk and teased Diego, something about politics, and Diego got mad and tossed his drink in Sylvère’s face. And Warren Niesluchowski was there, and John and Anya.

... 

Warren’s a friend, an artworld personality and critic, a smart and cultivated guy.

...

Warren knows everyone in the artworld. 

 

Chris Kraus, I Love Dick, 1997 

______________________________________________

 

North

warrenn2000@aol.com

Sa, 13.10.2018 17:40

An: María Inés Plaza Lazo

 

Dear Maria Inés,

Trust you are well and your usual productive self...

Sudden turn of events, now finishing my viaggio in Italia (leaving issue #3 of AWC with Carrico Massimo a like-minded project in Livorno, the pretext for my visit)... For various reasons, like Brecht’s soldiers, marching north, hoping the guest room might be available briefly as I peripateticallyI head back to Warsaw...


Temporarily imprisoned till then by my Polish cell phone, but can receive calls and SMS, and e-mail...

 
Arriving early evening tomorrow Sunday, will try to connect some how...


Warren Niesłuchowski Jeż

+48.500.220.221 MOBILE

WarrenN2000@aol.com

 

Firenze |+39.055.221.654 | After October 10, 2018

Livorno|48.500.220.221|October 5

Trieste|39.040.102.224|October 1

Wien|43.1.524.09.76|September 27

Warszawa|48.22.121.4195|August 1

München|49.89.800.43097|June 14

Madrid|34.915.638.397|June 13

Paris|33.681.58.58.78|June 8 

London|44.203.536.425|May 30

München|49.89.800.43097|April 28

London|44.208.348.6853|March 14

New York|1.212.431.1207|February 15

México D. F.|1.646.818.0345|January 11, 2018

New York|1.646.818.0345|December 20, 2017

Los Angeles|1.310.689.3284|December 15

Joshua Tree|1.646.818.0345|December 12

Los Angeles|1.310.689.3284|November 22 

Madrid–Barcelona|34.91.563.8056 |November 20

Warszawa|48.22.121.4195|November 19

Wien|43.699.1075.7916|November 16

Berlin|49.1766.003.4420|September 15

Vilnius|37.05231.3847|September 8 

Warszawa Międzylesie|48.22.615.73.63|August 20

Gołub Dobrzyń|48.501.456.353|August 15

Warszawa|48.602.139.963|August 10, 2017

 

______________________________________________

 

From: Warren Niesłuchowski

Date: Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 08:31

Subject: From The New Yorker

To: Adam Szymczyk 

 

Drogi Adamie, 

Z lotniska, przed niżynami hapsburgskimi Nederlandów... Dostarczają mi zamiast chleba codzienny poemat, ten jakoś pasuje tej całości twej... 

Chyba w Kassel, za dwa...

Pozdrawiam serdecznie, i znów dzięki całej ekipie, 

Warren

P.S. Jeśli bot nie czynny z drugiej ręki, oto wiersz:

 

ORPHEUS AT THE SECOND GATE OF HADES | Yusef Komunyakaa 

My lyre has fallen & broken,

but I have my little tom-toms.

Look, do you see those crows

perched on the guardhouse?

I don’t wish to speak of omens

but sometimes it’s hard to guess.

Life has been good the past few years.

I know all seven songs of the sparrow

& I feel lucky to be alive. I woke up at 2:59 this morning, reprieved because I fought dream-catchers & won. I’ll place a stone in my mouth & go down there again, 

& if I meet myself mounting the stairs

it won’t be the same man descending. Doubt has walked me to the river’s edge before. I may be ashamed but I can’t forget how to mourn & praise on the marimba. 

I shall play till the day’s golden machinery stops between the known & the unknown. The place was a funeral pyre for the young 

Art historian, curator / Athens, Kassel, Zurich who died before knowing the thirst of man or woman. Furies with snakes in their hair wept. Tantalus ate pears & sipped wine

in a dream, as the eyes of a vulture 

poised over Tityus’ liver. I could see

Ixion strapped to a gyrating wheel

& Sisyphus sat on his rounded stone.

I shall stand again before Proserpine

& King Pluto. When it comes to defending love, I can make a lyre drag down the moon & stars but it’s still hard to talk of earthly things— ordinary men killing ordinary men, 

women & children. I don’t remember exactly what I said at the ticket office my first visit here, but I do know it grew ugly. The classical allusions didn’t make it any easier. I played a tune 

that worked its way into my muscles

& I knew I had to speak of what I’d seen

before the serpent drew back its head.

I saw a stall filled with human things, an endless list of names, a hill of shoes, a room of suitcases tagged to nowhere, eyeglasses, toothbrushes, baby shoes, dentures, ads for holiday spas,

& a wide roll of thick cloth woven of living hair. If I never possessed these reed flutes

& drums, if my shadow stops kissing me

because of what I have witnessed,

I shall holler to you through my bones,

I promise you. 

 

Yusef Komunyakaa teaches at N.Y.U. His latest collection of poetry is The Emperor of Water Clocks. 

 

______________________________________________

 

From: Warren Niesłuchowski

Date: Tuesday, 30 May 2017 at 10:22

Subject: Kassel

To: Adam Szymczyk 

 

Cześć, Adam, 

I had given up on the journées professionelles in Kassel, having committed to helping Wasko here in Berlin with his mysterious grand projet starting on the 1st, only to find out hours ago, accidentally and sans avis ni préavis, that is has been cancelled... Perhaps I should have known, too good to be true... 

So I hope you can forgive the late notification for the press conference, which will be another performative in itself, no doubt... And again, many thanks for your extended hospitality in Athens, to which I plan to return before mid- July... 

 

As ever, e-wig, Warren 

 

______________________________________________

 

From: Warren Niesłuchowski

Date: Friday, 30 November 2012 at 9:41 AM EST

Subject: TEX

To: Andre Mirabelli 

Art, like any drive, has many modalities, and contending sub- and objects

— the objects of eros are different from those of philia, in our post-Greco- Roman, Judæo-Christian speciation, even though they all dwell in the phylum of Love, which is why our precarious species-being requires so much care and pre-care (and of course certain fatalist strains will reflexively resort to prex, preces f. prayer[s]). 

So here I see not good or bad art (except in the sense of a good or bad rendition of any œuvre), but the specific projects and projections of our moral equivalent of, here, ‘folk’ art, though it is of course the effects of modernity, and the problematic existence of ‘modern’ art, that makes us so ambivalent about all these distinctions (and so susceptible to FX — and I think these are all far superior to cheap and cheesy Hollywood ones... 

If you google skull | painting | Holbein | anamorphic, you will get the locus classicus of this theme as it concerns ‘high’ art, in its credo, ‘religious’ modality (which is one of its ‘higher’ vocations, according to Hegel, and now a Vergangenes, a thing of the past... 

Now from play back to pretending to work... 

Looking forward to our agapē, W. 

P.S. And how is Jackie? And have your lives returned to normal? 

Warren Niesłuchowski „Jeż” +48.666.918.198 MOBILE | SMS 

______________________________________________

 

From: Warren Niesłuchowski 

Date: Friday, 8 April 2016 

Subject:

To: Joan Jonas 

 

Here is that verse Woody Guthrie added after his bad experience in Trump père’s racist housing in Brooklyn [‘I suppose | Old Man Trump knows | Just how much | Racial Hate | He stirred up | In the bloodpot of human hearts

| When he drawed | That color line | Here at his | Eighteen hundred family project’]: 

 

Beach Haven ain’t my home!

I just can’t pay this rent!

My money’s down the drain!

And my soul is badly bent!

Beach Haven looks like heaven Where no black ones come to roam! No, no, no! Old Man Trump! 

Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!

 

Congratulations again — everyone seems to go away with deep impressions... See you later in the day...

xW. 

 

______________________________________________

 

From: Warren Niesłuchowski

Date: Sunday, 21 October 2018 at 06:25 CEST Subject: USA-EUR

To: Joanna Warsza, Florian Malzacher 

Ah, Detroit, the fiery jądro, Heart, of Darkness: civilization à la Lévi- Strauss, the Tristes T[r]opiques: noise, disorder, pollution, the great tattooed epidermis... 

What time do you arrive back? 

Nichts Neues Im Westen... 

As ever, 

Warren 

 

//

"And Warren Niesłuchowski Was There: Guest, Host, Ghost" was published by Cabinet Books and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, in 2020.

Soon also as part of Issue 14: The Landlord is Coming. Out on December 14