The Kitchen

512 West 19th Street

The Kitchen's mission is to identify, support, and present artists whose art influences its medium and contemporary culture. It promotes the growth of artists, audiences, and the presenting field by pushing the accepted boundaries and definitions of ... more

The Kitchen's mission is to identify, support, and present artists whose art influences its medium and contemporary culture. It promotes the growth of artists, audiences, and the presenting field by pushing the accepted boundaries and definitions of contemporary culture, using artistic exploration and education as tools and its own extensive history as a resource. A multi-disciplinary presenting organization that provides visionary artists in all stages of their careers with much needed technical, artistic, and administrative resources for performances and exhibitions, The Kitchen has helped to launch the careers of many artists who define the American avant-garde. The Kitchen literally began in a kitchen. On July 5, 1971, in the unused kitchen of the Mercer Arts Center, housed in the Broadway Central Hotel in Greenwich Village, two video makers and performers invited friends to see the results of a collaborative project. Within this atmosphere of adversity and excitement, The Kitchen grew. It grew along with the new art form it presented and gradually embraced music as part of its presentations. In 1974, it incorporated as the not-for-profit Haleakala, Inc. and moved to 59... more

The Kitchen's mission is to identify, support, and present artists whose art influences its medium and contemporary culture. It promotes the growth of artists, audiences, and the presenting field by pushing the accepted boundaries and definitions of contemporary culture, using artistic exploration and education as tools and its own extensive history as a resource. A multi-disciplinary presenting organization that provides visionary artists in all stages of their careers with much needed technical, artistic, and administrative resources for performances and exhibitions, The Kitchen has helped to launch the careers of many artists who define the American avant-garde.

The Kitchen literally began in a kitchen. On July 5, 1971, in the unused kitchen of the Mercer Arts Center, housed in the Broadway Central Hotel in Greenwich Village, two video makers and performers invited friends to see the results of a collaborative project.

Within this atmosphere of adversity and excitement, The Kitchen grew. It grew along with the new art form it presented and gradually embraced music as part of its presentations. In 1974, it incorporated as the not-for-profit Haleakala, Inc. and moved to 59 Wooster Street in SoHo, rapidly establishing itself as the center of the downtown art world.


For the ten year period that followed, The Kitchen became a sort of hotbed of artistic activity. By this point in time, The Kitchen was also presenting performance and dance as part of its season, as well as film. Within the confines of a beautiful, columned, gallery-style loft space, this new Kitchen presented work that was both daring, non-traditional, and cutting edge. Artists would often informally gather at The Kitchen. They talked, questioned, and argued. Ideas happened. Artistic forms would merge and tradition would frequently be broken. Inevitably, through such passionate and ambitious work, many Kitchen artists broke through and achieved national prominence. Over the years, The Kitchen helped foster the careers of many innovative artists. People as diverse as Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, Eric Bogosian, David Byrne with The Talking Heads, Robert Longo, Peter Greenaway, Dana Reitz, Meredith Monk, Brian Eno, John Lurie, Elizabeth Streb, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, Vernon Reid, Jenny Holzer, and others. It soon became apparent that with more presentations of work, wider audience interest in The Kitchen, and heavy critical attention, The Kitchen needed to expand its physical space.

And so, in 1985, The Kitchen came of age. Through the hard work of many people, great generosity and drive, The Kitchen moved into its new and permanent home at 512 West 19th Street. The 16,500 square foot building, an old ice house built in the late 1880's, housing two of the largest black box theaters in the country. Also made possible as a result of the building's spaciousness are a Media Services department and a large administrative space which itself often serves as the backdrop for The Kitchen's role as artistic meeting place.


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Chelsea Description

The Kitchen is located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Once a mixed, low-income neighborhood on the West Side, Chelsea has become a focal point for artists and galleries. It has a wide reputation as Manhattan's gay mecca, and while that has historically been true, rising acceptance of the gay lifestyle—and soaring rents—has led to a dissipation of the community in the neighborhood. These days, Chelsea is, very simply, a bastion of affluence more than any other social status, with the conversion of many apartment buildings to condos and co-ops and the on-rush of multimillion-dollar brownstones and lofts. In the ever-northward shift of Manhattan's masses, the high prices of Greenwich Village and Christopher Street area (which has boasted a large LGBT community since the 1960s) led many to head north to Chelsea in the late 1980s. In that migration, many have already moved on from Chelsea to the northern climes of Hell's Kitchen and Washington Heights, or east to Brooklyn. While Eighth Avenue between 14th and 23rd Streets formerly had one of New York’s highest concentrations of gay-operated restaurants, stores, cafes, the population transfer changed the demographics once again—you'll find much higher concentrations in Hell's Kitchen nowadays.

The Chelsea art scene blossomed thanks to the conversion of garages and warehouses between Tenth and Twelfth Avenues, and likely will become a victim of its own success. What SoHo and the 57th Street area lost in stature has been Chelsea’s gain, and almost all the well-established flagship galleries make Chelsea their base. How did it all begin? In 1987, the Dia Center for the Arts—later known as Dia: Chelsea—became one of the pioneers in the area, establishing its main exhibition facility on West 22nd Street. Ironically, after opening its flagship museum Dia: Beacon upstate, it was left without a Manhattan presence. Plans to move down to Greenwich Village and abut the new High Line elevated park were scuttled, and the Whitney instead grabbed the valuable tract that once appealed to Dia. Of course, the High Line further increased property values, thus begetting additional high-rises between Tenth Avenue and West Street, which in turn brought in starchitects like Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel, whose creations can be seen soaring from the earth along West Street. You can learn more about these in our new architecture of Manhattan walking tour.

While the ethnic diversity of Chelsea was once truly enviable, the neighborhood still remains one of only a few places where housing ranges from high-rise public housing projects to single-family brownstones to new glass condominiums—even on the same block! Some of Manhattan’s most affordable rent-stabilized apartments can be found between Seventh and Ninth Avenues. The historic district has some fine examples of nineteenth-century city dwellings, and small gardens and flowering trees abound. If you think the grounds of General Theological Seminary (440 West 21st Street) look familiar, that's because it is frequently functions as a set for the TV show Law & Order! Even seminaries have to make money, and thus G.T.S. (as it's known) demolished its former entrance on Ninth Avenue to make way for (what else?) luxury condominiums. At its Tenth Avenue entrance, G.T.S. created one of Manhattan's most charming niche hotels, the Desmond Tutu Center, named after the great South African archbishop.

Speaking of hotels, Chelsea has no shortage of great places to stay and to eat. On Tenth Avenue you'll find the renowned tapas of Tia Pol and its offshoot El Quinto Pino just two blocks away. There's the upscale Cookshop nearby, and further south on Tenth Avenue you'll find the Iron Chef's Morimoto at the great Chelsea Market, also home to Buddakan on the Ninth Avenue side.

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Info

512 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 255-5793
Website

Editorial Rating

This Week's Hours

Gallery Hours:
Tue-Fri 12-6pm
Sat 11-6
Admission to gallery is free.

Box Office Hours:
Tue-Sat 2-6pm and one hour before the beginning of a show

Nearby Subway

  • to 18th St -- 0.4

@TheKitchen_NYC

So excited to be welcoming Morgan Bassichis tonight and tomorrow for “Damned If You Duet!” Trust us, the only way t…
https://t.co/Y2hfcUxioH November 01

Auction bidding is now live! This is your chance to purchase works by innovative artists wile also supporting The K…
https://t.co/qHgtwiDmKt October 30

IT’S HERE! The 2018 Benefit Art Auction is now LIVE on @paddle8 ! The auction features more than 70 works including…
https://t.co/vaQraNITEw October 26

This Thursday and Friday, don’t miss Liliana Porter’s US debut of “THEM,” a performance that addresses recurring th…
https://t.co/q4kehdhcOM October 22

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