The Kitchen offers the public a rare opportunity to view its archives at the Armory Show –


Typically, organizations store their records, keeping them away from the public. But the kitchen took a different approach at the Armory Show, where it turned its archives outdoors.

This year at the fair, the Kitchen organized a section devoted to non-profit art. Founded as an artists’ collective in 1971, The Kitchen is one of the most esteemed organizations of its kind in New York City. With her Chelsea home currently undergoing a multi-year renovation, she has temporarily moved to a loft in Westbeth Artist Housing.

Its booth serves as an informal guide to some of the kitchen’s greatest hits, with audio recordings and printed posters serving as stand-ins for the performances, exhibitions and events the organization has held over the decades.

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On three loudspeakers, recordings of a selection of experimental music by John Driscoll, David Tudor and others are played; they compete with the background noise of the fair to attract the attention of visitors. These recordings were previously released in albums between 2004 and 2015 as part of an archival preservation project, but until this week they were only available through researchers.

Among the kitchen’s archive of print materials referenced on the booth’s wallpaper are programming schedules, posters and flyers for individual events. It’s a nod to an earlier pre-digital era; the practice at the time was to paste these materials around the city in various settings.

“What we wanted to do was present the materials in a really dynamic way, but also as a reminder of history,” Kitchen’s media and engagement curator Alison Burstein said in a statement. interview with ART news. To organize the stand, she worked with curatorial assistant Angelique Rosales Salgado.

A poster visible on the booth wall references a 1988 performance by several artists in collaboration with Charles Atlas, a pioneering videographer who is the subject of an ongoing exhibit at Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works. Others refer to key performances by Christian Marclay, Bill Viola and Laurie Anderson.

Part of the job at Armory, Burstein noted, was to “invite visitors to start looking for those connections.”

From the earliest days of The Kitchen’s programming, experimental music was at the center of its concerns. Videographers who filmed dance performers who collaborated with composers, pursuing their goal of working with technologies that were not yet widely available.

“We’re really layering the story and kind of blurring the line between a concert that took place in 1970 and a dance performance that took place in 2011,” Burstein said.

“There are these networks that you can trace between artists who collaborated widely and freely across many different disciplines,” she continued. “From music to visual arts to performance and those unspeakable categories in between.”

The kitchen has long thought about what it means to be an alternative space. Current Executive Director and Chief Curator Legacy Russell has continued in public forums to champion the community roots of cooking, resisting the idea that every arts institution must grow on a monumental scale.

This commitment to showcasing its history and publicizing the artists who once passed through its halls was felt in the first kitchen showcase at the Armory.

“It’s living material,” Burnstein said of the organization’s archives. “It’s something we’re always thinking about how to scale.”


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