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The Kitchen

For other uses, see Kitchen (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 40°44′44″N 74°00′25″W / 40.745452°N 74.006846°W / 40.745452; -74.006846{{#coordinates:40.745452|-74.006846||||||| |primary |name= }}

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Exterior view of The Kitchen in 2011
Exterior view of The Kitchen in 2011
Location 512 West 19th Street, Manhattan, New York City, New York
Type Indoor theatre

The Kitchen is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary art and performance space located at 512 West 19th Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It was founded in Greenwich Village in 1971 by Steina and Woody Vasulka, taking its name from the original location, the kitchen of the Mercer Arts Center,[1] where artists working mostly in video showed their work. Although first intended as a location for the exhibition of video art, the Kitchen soon expanded its mission to include other forms of art, both plastic and performance. In 1974, The Kitchen relocated to a building at the corner of Wooster and Broome Streets in SoHo, and incorporated as a not-for-profit arts organization. In 1987 it moved to its current location.

The first music director of The Kitchen was composer Rhys Chatham. The venue became known as a place where many No Wave bands like Glenn Branca, Lydia Lunch and James Chance performed. Notable Kitchen alumni also include Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Rocco Di Pietro, John Moran, Young Jean Lee's Theater Company, Peter Greenaway, Michael Nyman, Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros, Gordon Mumma, Frederic Rzewski, Ridge Theater, The Future Sound of London, Leisure Class, Elliott Sharp, Brian Eno, Arthur Russell, Meredith Monk, Arleen Schloss, Vito Acconci, Keshavan Maslak, Lucinda Childs, Bill T. Jones, David Byrne/Talking Heads, John Jasperse, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, ETHEL, Chris McIntyre, Sylvie Degiez, Wayne Lopes/CosmicLegends, and Cindy Sherman.

Today, The Kitchen focuses on presenting emerging artists, most of whom are local, and is committed to advancing work that is experimental in nature. Its facilities include a 155-seat black box performance space and a gallery space for audio and visual exhibitions. The Kitchen presents work in music, dance, performance, video, film, visual art, and literature.[2]


Mercer Arts Center (1971–1973)

Looking for a way to present their work to a public audience, Steina and Woody Vasulka rented the kitchen of the Mercer Arts Center, in the former Broadway Central Hotel in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. The Vasulka’s, with help from Andy Mannik, opened The Kitchen as a presentation space for video artists on June 15, 1971. Later that year, the Vasulkas added music to their programming and named Rhys Chatham the first music director. The Kitchen continued their eclectic programming at the Mercer Arts Center until the summer of 1973 when they began planning to move to 59 Wooster Street. On August 3, 1973, the building that housed the Mercer Arts Center collapsed,[3] making this decision final.

Move to SoHo (1973–1986)

The 1973-1974 season started in The Kitchen’s new location at the corner of Wooster and Broome streets in the former LoGiudice Gallery Building. During its time on 59 Wooster Street The Kitchen emerged as New York’s premiere avant-garde and experimental arts center. In addition to a performance space, a gallery and video viewing room were established at this location.

Today (1985–present)

The Kitchen moved uptown to 512 West 19th Street to begin the spring 1986 season and subsequently purchased the space in 1987. The inaugural event series in The Kitchen’s new home was entitled New Ice Nights. In 1991 The Kitchen held its twentieth anniversary celebration: The Kitchen Turns Twenty with a retrospective mini-music festival entitled Five Generations of Composers, as well as a re-creation of Jean Dupuy’s Soup and Tart, entitled: Burp: Soup and Tart Revisited. The Kitchen remains a space for interdisciplinary and experimental work by focusing its programming on emerging artists.

In fall of 2011, after seven years as the Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Kitchen, Debra Singer handed over the reins to former ArtForum Editor-in-Chief Tim Griffin.[4]

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy flooded The Kitchen with four feet of water from the Hudson River, causing damage of about $450,000.[3] With insurance only cover less than half the loss from the storm, the Kitchen received grants from Time Warner and the Art Dealers Association of America, as well as from nonprofit organizations and foundations (like the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts).[3]

Notable series and performances


In 2014, the Getty Research Institute announced its acquisition of The Kitchen’s archives, including 5,410 videotapes and more than 600 audiotapes, as well as photographs and ephemera documenting performances, exhibitions and events staged from 1971 to 1999. Also included in the archive are 246 posters designed by artists like Robert Longo and Christian Marclay.[12]

Notable directors and curators

    Robert Wisdom-Music Director (1985-1986)
  • Arto Lindsay - Music director (1986–1987)
  • Cynthia Hedstrom - Dance curator (1986–1990)
  • Lauren Dyer Amazeen - Executive Director (1991-1996)
  • John Maxwell Hobbs - Producing Director/Director of New Technology (1991-1996)
  • Ira Silverberg - Literature curator (1989–1995)
  • Ben Neill - Music director (1992–1998)
  • John King - Music director (1999–2003)
  • Bernadette Speach - Director (1996–1998)
  • Neil Greenberg - Dance curator (1995–1999)
  • Frederic Tuten - Literature curator (1995–2000)
  • Dean Moss - Dance curator (1999–2005)
  • Debra Singer - Executive Director and Chief Curator (2004–2011)
  • Tim Griffin - Executive Director and Chief Curator (2011–present)


  1. ^ Rachel Lee Harris (March 29, 2012), Artists in Dialogue at the Kitchen New York Times.
  2. ^ The Kitchen website
  3. ^ a b c Allan Kozinn (January 4, 2013), Drying Out After a Storm, and Moving On New York Times.
  4. ^ Miller, M. "Tim Griffin’s Second Act | The New York Observer". Retrieved 2014-01-04. 
  5. ^ Potter, Keith Four musical minimalists: La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "HISTORY AND PURPOSE" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-01-04. 
  8. ^ "Beastie Boys Live at the Kitchen in 1983"
  9. ^ Bennett, Bruce. "A Party So Nice They're Throwing It Twice" Wall Street Journal (April 13, 2011)
  10. ^ Schultz, Charlie "Downtown Sound: Rhys Chatham at The Kitchen NYC" on ArtSlant
  11. ^ "The View from a Volcano". Dialect Magazine. Retrieved 2014-01-04. 
  12. ^ Carol Vogel (January 23, 2014), Kitchen Archives Go To Getty New York Times.

External links