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Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: The Kitchen videos and records
    Date (inclusive): 1967-2011 (bulk 1971-1999)
    Number: 2014.M.6
    Creator/Collector: Kitchen Center for Video, Music, Dance, Performance, Film, and Literature (New York, N.Y.)
    Physical Description: 426 Linear Feet (446 boxes, 7 flat file folders, 1 boxed roll)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    Business Number: (310) 440-7390
    Fax Number: (310) 440-7780
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The Kitchen has been a center for innovative artistic activity since its founding in 1971. Operating as a meeting place between disciplines in New York, the space has fostered the development of experimental artwork across music, video, dance, performance, and installation art. The archive predominantly contains extensive video and audio recordings documenting performances at the space; artist files; posters; and printed ephemera. Audio and video recordings are unavailable until reformatted. Contact the repository for information regarding access. Some audiovisual material is currently available for on-site use only.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical / Historical Note

    The Kitchen was founded in 1971 as an artist collective by video artists Steina and Woody Vasulka. Located in the unused kitchen of the former Mercer Arts Center in Greenwich Village, the space functioned as an arena where artists could share their ideas with like-minded colleagues. Dedicated to music and video, and emphasizing experimentation with emergent forms of technology, programming soon evolved to encompass dance, performance, readings, and seminars on art and technology.
    By the fall of 1973, The Kitchen had incorporated as a non-profit and, just before the physical collapse of its building on Mercer Street, moved to 59 Wooster Street (with a second entrance on 484 Broome), a second-floor loft replete with a gallery, a performance area, and a video viewing room. This new location placed The Kitchen in the heart of South of Houston Street (SoHo), then a burgeoning arts district attracting a close-knit community of artists from an array of fields. Near-daily programming at the space cohered into five main areas: visual art, film/video, dance, music, and performance art. The Kitchen solidified into a professional, partially-funded institution staffed with curators and technicians, closely affiliated with key artists of the period, presenting important works in Minimalism, installation art, photography, electronic, punk and New Wave music, and No Wave cinema. In addition to its on-site activity, The Kitchen acted as a distributor of artists' film and video, and arranged programs that toured across the US.
    In the spring of 1986, The Kitchen moved to the space it currently occupies at 512 West 19th Street in Chelsea. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s The Kitchen continued supporting the generations of artists that had come of age during its early years, while also exploring new themes around multiculturalism, AIDS activism, digital technology, and the nascent internet. Today, The Kitchen is still known and respected for its experimental exhibitions and programs, and for its support of artists at various stages in their careers.
    Sources consulted:
    "The Kitchen: About." The Kitchen. Accessed June 1, 2016. http://thekitchen.org/about.
    Sally Banes. "Choreographing Community: Dancing in the Kitchen." Dance Chronicle 25, no. 1 (2002): 143-61. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1568183.
    Tania Ørum and Jesper Olsson. A Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries 1950-1975 . BRILL, 2016.
    Glenn Phillips, Acquisition Approval Form for The Kitchen videos and records, 2014.M.6, 2013.
    Ben Portis. "The Vasulkas and The Kitchen." EAI.org. Accessed June 1, 2016. http://web.archive.org/web/20100920225951/http://eai.org/kinetic/ch2/kitchen/Kitchen_Essay.html.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers. Audio visual and born digital materials are unavailable until reformatted. Offsite material may require additional retrieval time; contact reference for information.

    Preferred citation

    The Kitchen videos and records, 1971-2011 (bulk 1971-1999), The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2014.M.6

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 2014.

    Processing history

    Posters were processed by Mark Simon Haydn between October and November 2015. The audiovisual series was encoded from an inventory from The Kitchen between 2015 and 2016 by Laura Schroffel. Papers were processed by Judy Chou and Emmabeth Nanol between October 2016 and February 2017.

    Digitized material

    Selected content from the collection was digitized from 2014 to 2019 and is ongoing. Digital content is available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2014m6

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection covers The Kitchen's activities from its founding in 1971 through 2011. Consisting of over 5000 separate video and audio recordings, artist and marketing files, and nearly 300 original posters designed by artists such as Sol LeWitt, Robert Longo, Barbara Kruger, Kiki Smith, and Gran Fury, it documents the rich history of experimental performance and video art produced in New York City during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, including major works by Merce Cunningham, Nam June Paik, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Mike Kelley, David Tudor, and Yvonne Rainer.

    Arrangement note

    Collection is arranged in 3 series: Series I. Audiovisual materials, 1967-2005, undated; Series II. Papers, 1971-2011, bulk 1971-1999; Series III. Posters, 1972-1977.