Tue-Fri, noon-6pm; Sat, 11am-6pm; Sun-Mon, closed
C, E at 23rd St.; A, C, E at 14th St.; L at Eighth Ave.
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True to the be-here-now esthetic that existed when it was founded, The Kitchen remains a modern-day happening of sorts. The black-box theater and white gallery space are constantly in flux with weekly literary, theatrical and visual arts events and any preponderance of multi-media work isn't an attempt at hipness, it's a reference to how the space began: Inspired by the recently invented video camera, a group of artists cooked up a collective in a Soho hotel kitchen circa 1971. Two relocations later, the provocative video installations/scenic elements are still signature components as they further the vision of performing artists like Laurie Anderson, Karen Finley and Bill T. Jones who solidified their reputations here. (Anderson sits on the board today.) Edgy theater and dance performances aspire to the high bar set here by Bill T. Jones and Richard Foreman. And while some stars return for benefits or brief gigs, most productions are by unknown up-and-comers or mid-career artists adamant about experimentation. A typical week’s offerings might include an underground hip-hop drama, a literary magazine launch, and a political video/sculpture exhibit. Former Whitney curator Debra Singer took the helm in a surprising 2004 career move, heightening the focus on visual artists and lowering ticket prices. Performances rarely exceed $20, allowing art students to rub elbows with the graying downtown artists they might become.