Dec 22, 2020
Over the years, I’ve drawn inspiration time and again from something The Kitchen’s co-founder, artist Steina Vasulka, once told me about how this singular organization emerged during the 1970s.
“It wasn’t by plan,” she said. “At least not at the start. Instead, it came to be simply by virtue of people coming together—sometimes just by walking up unsolicited to the front door—and, through their work, creating a home.”
Home is not always a word one readily associates with art. Or, for that matter, with organizations like The Kitchen, whose legacy is entwined with artists whose work sometimes prompts a forceful rethinking of convention, and of culture. (Even in our challenging times, my favorite Kitchen adage might remain one longtime board member telling me, “If I don’t get up and walk out of the theater at least once a year, then you’re not doing your job.”) People come here to take a chance, in other words. And, with luck, their projects exceed any institutional platform to become something more fundamental: the stuff of joyful experimentation, the veritable and life-changing lifeblood of art.
It is precisely in the register of such ambitions, however, that a space may be defined as a home: a space where things are placed within reach; a living sphere shaped by the people occupying it, for whom that place becomes infinitely habitable; full of personal memories and shared legends to be called upon, and from which something else, and something new, may always be created. This is the kind of home artists began—and continue to create—at The Kitchen. And, as we learned in 2020, this home provides a steady harbor even in the heaviest of weather, suggesting still newer things in art to come.
It’s humbling for me to have had the privilege of serving as Executive Director and Chief Curator at The Kitchen during these past nine years. And as I prepare to step down from this position next month, it’s deeply moving to recall so many incredible moments of working and living with artists here, and with a staff devoted to placing those artists’ most ambitious aspirations within reach. It’s even more inspiring to think of what might come next.
In this time of transition for The Kitchen—and as the organization crosses the threshold of 50 years since artists first walked up to its door—I ask that you lend your support today to ensure that The Kitchen will remain a home among artists both now and for generations to come.
I cannot thank you enough for all your generosity, and look forward to joining you as a fellow audience member soon! Until then, from all of us at The Kitchen, we hope everyone in your home remains safe and healthy through these holidays, sharing great warmth together.
With deepest gratitude,
Executive Director and Chief Curator
Images from Executive Director and Chief Curator Tim Griffin’s archive: Neal Medlyn and Steina Vasulka; Moriah Evans, Rebecca Serrell Cyr, Yve Laris Cohen, and mayfield brooks; HPrizm; Tom Cole; The Raincoats; Gary Indiana; Marci Field, Lauren Cronk, Matthew Lyons, Bruce Lineker, and Rayna Holmes; Lorraine O’Grady; Ragnar Kjartansson; Cooper-Moore; Anicka Yi; Kevin Beasley, Jason Moran, and Paula Court; Lex Korten, Nick Dunston, Tyshawn Sorey, Sasha Berliner, Nathan Reising, and Morgan Guerin; Molissa Fenley; Fred Moten; Paulina Olowska; Standing on the Corner; Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi; Lilliana Porter, Federico Lo Bianco, Ana Tiscornia, and Dani Prados; Nantapol Panitram, Pruan Pancharam, Stefan Pedersen, Phung Vo, Jamie Stewart, Shayna Dunkelman, Ches Smith, F.P. Boué, Jorg Jakoby, Eve Tangsakul; Mila Tuttle; Joan Jonas; Helado Negro and Constance deJong; Kevin Beasley, Jason Moran, Wetware; Mike Faba, Merve Kayan, and Autumn Knight; Joanna Constantine.
Banner image: Stephen Prinaa, Blind No. 15, Fifteen-foot ceiling or lower, (Primary Magenta/Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)/Hansa Yellow Opaque/Primary Yellow), 2011 Three panels: acrylic on linen, window-blind mechanism. 183 7/8 x 40 7/8 in. (467 x 103.8 cm) (each). © Stephen Prina. Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York. Rachel Harrision, The Help, 2012 Pigmented inkjet print. 14 3/4 x 11 in. (37.5 x 27.9 cm) (image). 22 3/4 x 17 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (57.8 x 45.1 x 3.8 cm) (frame). Edition 2 of 6, 3 APs. Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York. Photo by Wade Guyton.