Vasulka Archive
Kitchen Story by Steina

In 1970, when the NYSCA deemed video an applicable art form, Russell Connor visited various art organizations in the state soliciting proposals. Howard Wise, who had just had a very successful gallery show "TV As a Creative Medium" asked one of the artists, Eric Siegel, for advice. Though NYSCA was legislatively not allowed to fund individuals, it was understood that the activities of the groups (Global Village, Rain Dance, Peoples' Video Theater and the Video Freaks) that had emerged, hinged on the capacity of individuals in these groups. So, Eric contacted us and Vincent Novak, suggesting we band together under the name "Perception." To qualify, Howard Wise, who had discontinued his gallery, applied for non-profit status. I think it was on the suggestion of Frank Gilette, that he named this new entity "Electronic Arts Intermix." All worked out and Perception got 12,000 dollars which was divided 5000 for Woody, 4000 for Eric, 3000 for Steina and 0 for Vinnie, who somehow did not qualify as an artist. Eric took his share to travel to India with a portapac, making one of the first tapes of that genre. Woody and Steina, who had, at the commencement of the grant period, started the Kitchen, applied all of their funding toward the Kitchen, much to the disapproval of Howard, who pointed out that this was their own funds designated for making art. When the next funding cycle came around, several artists had approached Howard seeking financial assistance. Howard, who was, by now, very supportive of The Kitchen, suggested that we apply for separate funding as The Kitchen. Perception dropped us, but took in, besides Eric, Frank Gilette, Ira Schneider, Beryl Korot, Juan Downey and Andy Mann. Howard was a man to be trusted, and this time Electronic Arts Intermix served as an umbrella for a lot of activities, such as The Avant Garde Festival, Perception, Vasulka Video and the Kitchen. When Robert Stearns took over the directorship of the Kitchen, he formed his own non-profit organization under the name Haleakala. In expectation of a high class art center, he renamed "The Kitchen" to "The Kitchen Center for Dance, Music or whatever", hoping to eventually drop the "Kitchen" name and become "The Center." This was his failure in an otherwise very successful run as a director.

August 1976