The Armory Show, the long-running New York City art fair, will have upwards of 240 galleries participating in its second edition at the vast Javits Center in September, and among all the commercial offerings will be a historical presentation by revered downtown non-profit The Kitchen. The experimental and multi-disciplinary institution, which recently embarked on plans to renovate and expand its building in the middle of the West Chelsea gallery district, will devote its complimentary stand to a historical presentation of little-seen and rarely-heard materials from its archive.
“As The Kitchen prepares to begin a renovation of its Chelsea facilities and shifts its program to a new temporary downtown location, it is thinking deeply about how its archive can be given back to the public with new access points for audiences to engage,” says Legacy Russell, the non-profit’s executive director and chief curator. “The Kitchen will bring elements of the archive into three dimensions, resurrecting recordings and ephemera, with a focus on The Kitchen’s beginnings in the 1970s (when it was founded) and 1980s (when we first moved to Chelsea), revealing a history that, living and breathing, arcs to the present day, paving the way for the future we are building toward now.”
The collaboration with The Kitchen marks a new chapter in the fair’s collaborations with New York’s vital non-commercial spaces. The Armory Show has long partnered with many of the foremost institutions in the city and surrounding region via its Cultural Partners programme, which has been running for more than a decade and this year includes the Brooklyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum, Magazzino Italian Art centre, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and others. The special stand presentation by The Kitchen will mark the debut of a programme dubbed “Armory Spotlight” that will see a different non-profit filling a stand at the fair each year.
“Now that we have relocated to the Javits Center, we have a unique opportunity to support these important partners by sharing a physical space in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Manhattan,” says the fair’s executive director Nicole Berry. “It’s our hope that such visibility at The Armory Show can be leveraged for exposure, sustainability and growth.”
The Kitchen’s forthcoming renovation and expansion is part of a $28m, five-year capital project launched last September. It will help ensure the non-profit’s ability to continue presenting a rich range of exhibitions, performances, symposia and other events that, over the years, has included everyone from Cindy Sherman and Bill T. Jones to the Beastie Boys and Simone Leigh.
“As someone who has long admired The Kitchen’s experimental and innovative program, I was thrilled when they decided to join this initiative in its inaugural year,” Berry says. “As one of the city’s oldest and most storied institutions, The Kitchen has an outstanding archive that will be brought to life for all who attend the fair.”
The 2022 edition of The Armory Show, which will also feature a pronounced focus on Latin American art, runs 9-11 September, with a VIP preview on 8 September.