July 14, 2024


Taste the Home & Environment

Fab 5 Freddy, Antwaun Sargent, Nicola Vassell, and More Celebrate the Kitchen at Their Annual Spring Gala

Fab 5 Freddy, Antwaun Sargent, Nicola Vassell, and More Celebrate the Kitchen at Their Annual Spring Gala

If New York is a sprawling home, the Kitchen—the multidisciplinary avant-garde performance and experimental art institution—situates itself as its natural center and gathering space for those outside the ordinary. Established in 1971 as an artist-driven collective, the Kitchen hosted its annual spring gala last week, bringing together a kaleidoscopic troupe of artists and their supporters including Jacolby Satterwhite, Salon founder Jordan Huelskamp, and Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor. Under the tutelage of executive director and chief curator Legacy Russell, the first Black person to hold the role in the organization’s 50-plus years, the evening was especially occupied with time: from highlighting archival footage to centering current artists to hinting at future aims.

“To guide this institution into its next chapter, that’s the work,” Russell told Vanity Fair Wednesday. “How do we create space for visions that actually have not found their place elsewhere? How do we insist on a different future for art—for what artists and culture workers deserve?”

The evening’s celebrations, held at Guastavino’s, featured pioneering new media artist Lynn Hershman Leeson, art patrons Bernard I. Lumpkin, and Carmine D. Boccuzzi—noted for their Young, Gifted and Black traveling exhibition and survey—alongside an in memoriam centennial tribute to the jazz composer and drummer Max Roach.

Stuart Comer, Carmine Boccuzzi, Bernard I. Lumpkin, Legacy Russell, and Lynn Hershman Leeson.Deonté Lee/BFA.com

Stuart Comer, chief curator of media and performance at MoMA, toasted Lumpkin and Boccuzzi for their dedication to a new generation of Black artists, specifically calling up the 2020 March For Black Trans Lives on Brooklyn Museum in which the pair funded the acquisition of artist and activist Tourmaline’s film Salacia into the MoMA permanent collection. When the museum initially approached Tourmaline about her work, she’d “gently pushed back” on their original proposition, Comer recounted, inquiring about a deeper commitment from the institution amid the spotlight on violence against trans people and allowing Salacia, which documents the life of a Black trans woman who lived in New York over 200 years ago, to be circulated broadly. Lumpkin and Boccuzzi rose to meet the occasion.

In their address, Lumpkin and Boccuzzi listed several of what they deemed “Kitchen moments,” from J Jan Groeneboer’s site-specific, multichannel video installation, Selected Views, at the institution’s Westbeth location to its collaboration with the Studio Museum in Harlem, showing Sadie Barnette’s The New Eagle Creek Saloon, applauding chief curator Russell for stewarding both works into the space. “Tonight is a Kitchen moment,” Boccuzzi declared.

Multi-instrumentalist composer and vocalist Eartheater (who was among the cohort to rave with Björk under another New York City bridge earlier this month) performed two songs, including “Volcano.” Later Justin Allen, an interdisciplinary artist whose work experiments with video, dance, and sound, performed to a video installation from within the crowd of attendees, pressing the audience to split their attention between the Allen in the room and the one onscreen.

Eartheater, Fab 5 Freddy, and Kyle Roach.Deonté Lee/BFA.com