The Kitchen

On June 15, 1971, The Kitchen, a renovated space at the Mercer Arts Center at 240 Mercer Street, New York opened to the public, providing video practitioners with one of the first media spaces in which to present their work before a live audience. This creative venture, initiated by Steina and Woody Vasulka earlier that same year, dovetailed with the artists' interest in collaborative exchange. The Kitchen was not only the first electronic theatre of its kind, but it also served a practical purpose — hundreds of artists, composers, performers, and engineers like Rhys Chatham, John Gibson, Charlotte Moorman, Laurie Spiegel, Mary Lucier, and the Vasulkas, enthralled with electronic art and music could present their new compositions, videos, machines or synthesizers to an avid group of like-minded individuals. Its early programs ranged from an annual Video Arts Festival to regular Electronic Music Concerts, weekly Wednesday Evening Open Video Screenings, and production workshops on live video performances and image-processing organized by the Vasulkas. Having originally evolved from Perception, the ad-hoc, EAI-sponsored artist's collective in 1971, The Kitchen's programs garnered enough attention to enable the organization to secure its own funding.

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