In 2012, Okwui Enwezor was appointed artistic director of the third iteration of La Triennale, which he titled Intense Proximité (IP). While Enwezor had the credentials to legitimize the French art scene, he was also keenly aware of his own revolving roles as guest and host. This article considers his exhibition-making practice within the context of hospitality. Conventionally, hospitality entails warmly welcoming guests to make themselves at home. This interaction between guest and host involves not only implicit codes of etiquette and manners but also an economy of exchange that revolves around constant transaction and negotiation. In general, a curator’s duties are similar to those of a host in setting up the conditions to welcome a diverse array of artists, ideas, and viewers into a designated space. Keeping in mind how curating, in the words of Erica Lehrer and Cynthia Milton, is also “a kind of intimate, intersubjective, interrelational obligation,” Enwezor never presumed his role as positionality to be sovereign. The first half of the article introduces the concept of hospitality and sets up Enwezor’s curatorial premise of IP. The second half mobilizes his curatorial practice as a means to open up ways to reconceive hospitality as a site of interruption, absolution, and abolition, and it reaffirms scholarship that conceives Enwezor’s exhibition making as a decolonial practice.

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