MISSION & VISION

Founded in 1971 as an artist-driven collective, The Kitchen today reaffirms and expands upon its originating vision as a dynamic cultural institution that centers artists, prioritizes people, and puts process first. Programming in a kunsthalle model that brings together live performances, exhibition-making, and public programming under one roof, The Kitchen empowers its audiences and communities to think creatively and radically about what it means to shape a multivalent and sustainable future in art. The Kitchen seeks to cultivate and hold space for wild thought, risky play, and innovative and experimental making, encouraging artists and cultural workers alike to defy boundaries and sending them into the world to remake art history and catalyze creative change.

VALUES

QTPOCIA+ driven, centered, and celebrated.

We recognize that the avant-garde has always been shaped by intersectional identities; we hold space for intersectionality within our history and work as it arcs to the present day.

“Avant-garde” and “experimental” are never singular.

The avant-garde is not an exclusive club; it has many global missions and definitions and belongs to everyone.

Equity is care.

To experiment fearlessly, artists, cultural workers, and our communities all need care.

“Emergence” is durational.

There is no time-limit on being “emerging.” To emerge is to grow, and growth is an ongoing process, not limited to one generation or stage of life.

Thinking and feeling simultaneously is the future of art.

Upholding somatic labor alongside intellectual labor as equally contributing to creative care.

Rehearsal and process is speculative, world-building work.

The journey is where the joy is, teaching and learning are critical, and the “final product” is not the arrival point.

Artist archives are instructive.

Stewarding the care of artists and their legacies is crucial; we commit to remembering artists as our ancestors, and learning from their contributions across space and time.

Slowness is radical and kindness is a catalyst.

In the face of a world that too often conflates speed and progress, cultivating creative intentionality with tenderness can be transformative.

HISTORY

One of New York City’s oldest nonprofit alternative art centers, The Kitchen is dedicated to offering artists opportunities to create and present new work within, and across, the disciplines of dance, film, literature, music, theater, video, and visual art. The institution fosters a community of artists and audiences, offering artists the opportunity to create—and for audiences to engage with—work that pushes the boundaries of artistic disciplines and strengthens meaningful dialogues between the arts and larger culture.

The Kitchen was founded as an artist collective in 1971, by Woody and Steina Vasulka, and was formalized as a 501c3 in 1973. It has, from its infancy, been a space where experimental artists share progressive ideas with like-minded colleagues. It was among the very first American institutions to embrace the emerging fields of video and performance, while presenting visionary new work in established disciplines such as dance, music, literature, and film. This unique combination generated an environment immediately conducive to groundbreaking and cross-disciplinary exploration, helping to launch the careers of many artists who have defined the global avant-garde.

Among the artists who have presented significant work at The Kitchen are Muhal Richard Abrams, Laurie Anderson, ANOHNI, Robert Ashley, Charles Atlas, Kevin Beasley, Beastie Boys, Gretchen Bender, Dara Birnbaum, Anthony Braxton, John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Julius Eastman, Philip Glass, Leslie Hewitt, Darius James, Joan Jonas, Bill T. Jones, Devin Kenny, Simone Leigh, Ralph Lemon, George Lewis, Robert Longo, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sarah Michelson, Tere O’Connor, Okwui Okpokwasili, Nam June Paik, Charlemagne Palestine, Sondra Perry, Vernon Reid, Arthur Russell, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Spiegel, Talking Heads, Greg Tate, Cecil Taylor, Urban Bush Women, Danh Vō, Lawrence Weiner, Anicka Yi, and many more.

Timeline

Steina Vasulka in The Kitchen, second floor of the Mercer Arts Center, 240 Wooster Street. Date and photographer unknown.
Steina Vasulka in The Kitchen, second floor of the Mercer Arts Center, 240 Wooster Street. Date and photographer unknown.

June 1971–1973

The Kitchen was founded by video artists Steina and Woody Vasulka in the former kitchen of the Mercer Arts Center, located at 240 Mercer Street in Greenwich Village in New York City. Initially operating with fiscal sponsorship from Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), The Kitchen functioned from 1971 to 1973 as an artist collective under the name The Kitchen Center for Video and Music, with the Vasulkas, Rhys Chatham, Shridhar Bapat, and Dimitri Devyatkin acting as directors. The Kitchen’s earliest programs spanned live video performances, video screenings, electronic music concerts, festivals, and other interdisciplinary events. Notable events in the Mercer Street location included weekly open video screenings; concerts of visual music; the Women’s Video Festival and multimedia concerts presented by the collective [Red, White, Yellow, and Black] in 1972 and 1973; and the Computer Art Festival in 1973.

Interior view of The Kitchen's space at 484 Broome Street, c. 1975. Photo by Kathy Landman.
Interior view of The Kitchen's space at 484 Broome Street, c. 1975. Photo by Kathy Landman.

November 1973

By June 1973, due to various factors including rising rental costs, The Kitchen moved out of the Mercer Street Art Center in order to relocate to a stand-alone space. At this time, the organization split from EAI to incorporate as a freestanding nonprofit under the name Haleakala, Inc., with Robert Stearns—an arts administrator who previously worked at Paula Cooper Gallery—at the helm as the first Executive Director. In November 1973, the institution reopened in a new, expansive loft space on the second floor of 484 Broome Street (on the corner of Wooster Street) in SoHo.

SITE ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The Kitchen acknowledges that its site has shifted over time from Greenwich Village, where it began in Mercer Arts Center, to a loft in SoHo on Wooster Street, to its home on 19th Street in Chelsea that it’s held since 1986, and now to the temporary location of Westbeth Artists Housing as our building renovation is underway. Since its founding, The Kitchen has presented programming both within its sites and at partner venues around New York City. These sites traverse Indigenous space, Black space, Latinx space, working-class space, immigrant space, queer space, activist space, rebellion space. These diasporic histories have had deep impacts on avant-garde art production at large and The Kitchen's own experimental institutional work. We strive to bring light to these groundbreaking contributions as we carry this next chapter of our institution forward with care. This is a collaborative, thoughtful process taking place across all facets of our work here, and we look forward to continuing to create experimentation-forward space for all with these values as a guiding force.

Team

Leadership

Legacy Russell

Executive Director & Chief Curator

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Chelsea Guerdat

Chief of Staff

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Robyn Farrell

Senior Curator

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Fatima Zaidi

Director of Development

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Effie Phillips-Staley

Capital Campaign Director

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Staff

Dani Alvarez

People & Culture Manager

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Raquel Du Toit

Grants Manager

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Rayna Holmes

Institutional Advancement & Special Projects Manager

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Emiko Inoue

Curatorial & Archive Intern

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David Riley

Production & Exhibitions Manager

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Angelique Rosales Salgado

Curatorial Assistant

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Gilberto Rosa-Duran

Communications Manager

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Olivia McKayla Ross

Curatorial & Archive Intern

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Viktor Shinkle

Communications & Archive Intern

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Dave Solomon

Finance Manager

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Tsige Tafesse

Curatorial Fellow

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Tassja Walker

Production Supervisor

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Consultants

Blake Zidell

Press Consultant

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Board of Directors

Robert Soros

Chairperson

Marla Mayer

President

Jacqueline Humphries

Vice Chairperson

Wade Guyton

Vice President

Chris Ahearn

Treasurer

Douglas Hand

Secretary

Laurie Anderson

Sarah Arison

Olivier Berggruen

Laurence Carty

Nora Clancy

Suzy Coue-Wilson

Molly Davies

Bryce Dessner

Charlotte Feng Ford

Dr. Nicole Fleetwood

Sarah Jones

Simone Leigh

Oliver Newton

Debra Singer

James von Moltke

Courtney Willis Blair

Paula Cooper

Chairperson Emeritus

Philip Glass

Chairperson Emeritus

Arthur Fleischer, Jr.

Director Emeritus

Advisory Council

The Kitchen's Advisory Council is a core element of our organizational structure across decades—and a format that identifies our institutional model as necessarily always being a living material and a work-in-progress—brings together groundbreaking thinkers, makers, and dreamers at the cutting edge of the radical imagination of experimental histories to be in dialogue with the institution about its future.

Kevin Beasley

Garrett Bradley

Melissa Feldman

Hal Foster

Alfred Gillio

Kenneth Goldsmith

Nick Hallett

Nicolas Jaar

Scott M. Lawin

Ralph Lemon

Joseph Logan

Sarah Michelson

Meredith Monk

Fred Moten

Nico Muhly

James Murphy

Annie Ohayon

Benjamin Palmer

Matthew Ritchie

Marina Rosenfeld

Jay Scheib

Ryan Schreiber

Tyshawn Sorey

Lynne Tillman

Stephen Vitellio

Yasuko Yokoshi

Contact

The Kitchen @ Westbeth
Westbeth Artists Housing, I Building
163B Bank Street, 4th Floor Loft
New York, NY 10014
Phone: 212 255 5793