A Vintage Poster Sale Celebrates 50 Years of The Kitchen NYC

Art News, Art History

April 30, 2021

One of New York City’s oldest nonprofit spaces, The Kitchen has been known for showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines. Since its inception, the venue has been a powerful force in shaping the cultural landscape of the country, while helping launch the careers of many now celebrated artists.

In 2021, The Kitchen is celebrating its 50th anniversary. On the occasion of this important milestone, they have partnered with Printed Matter, Inc. to host a special sale of vintage posters produced by the organization between 1976 and 1991.

Left: 1984 in 1984- Good Morning Mr. Orwell, January 1-29, 1984 / Right: Ambitious Lovers, February 6, 1984

The Kitchen NYC

Since 1971, The Kitchen has been a space where experimental artists and composers could share progressive ideas with like-minded colleagues. The venue was among the first in the US to embrace the emerging fields of video and performance while presenting visionary new work in established disciplines such as dance, music, literature, and film. 

Founded by Steina and Woody Vasulka, The Kitchen initially opened at the Mercer Arts Center, in the former Broadway Central Hotel in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. After the building that housed the Center collapsed in 1973, The Kitchen moved to SoHo, at the corner of Wooster and Broome streets in the former LoGiudice Gallery Building. It was here that The Kitchen emerged as the city's premier avant-garde and experimental center. In 1986, The Kitchen moved uptown to 512 West 19th Street, subsequently purchasing the space in 1987.

Going beyond the strict confines of the avant-garde, The Kitchen allowed a wider circle of performing artists to present their work. Due to this fertile and supportive environment, it has helped launch the careers of many now acclaimed artists, including Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Charles Atlas, Dara Birnbaum, Lucinda Childs, Bill T. Jones, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, and Elizabeth Streb, among many others.

Today, The Kitchen continues to support and present emerging and under-recognized artists who are making significant contributions to their respective fields, while serving as a safe space for more established artists to take unusual creative risks.

The Kitchen March Schedule, March 1-31, 1982

Vintage Posters

The posters on view are a testament to The Kitchen’s incredibly rich schedule of programs and performances during its iconic stretch of the NYC art scene. Encompassing experimental music, video, films, performance art, dance, and theater, the posters represent events by artists such as Kathy Acker, Ambitious Lovers, Laurie Anderson, Glenn Branca, John Cage, Fab Five Freddy and Diamanda Galas.

Throughout their years, the forms of posters, flyers and programming calendars served as both a means of promotion and sites of artistic expression. They collaborated with artists and designers on these printed materials in a range of diverse ways.

At the Printed Matter, the public will have an opportunity to see a selection of The Kitchen’s posters, flyers and ephemera curated by The Kitchen’s Curatorial Fellow Kathy Cho.

Left The Kitchen U.S.A. Touring- ‘82, June 1, 1982 / Right: New Music, New York, June 8-16, 1979

The Printed Matter, Inc. Poster Sale

Founded in 1976, Printed Matter, Inc. is the world’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination, understanding and appreciation of artists’ books and related publications.

The online sale will take place until May 9th, 2021 at the Printed Matter website. In-store sales will be offered during Frieze New York from May 5th until May 9th, 2021.

Featured image: New Virtuosi Festival, April 19 & 20, 1982. All images courtesy of The Kitchen and Printed Matter.