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The Kitchen Appoints Legacy Russell as Its Next Executive Director & Chief Curator

Russell's first publication was the critically acclaimed Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto (Verso Books, 2020).

The Kitchen Appoints Legacy Russell as Its Next Executive Director & Chief Curator

The Kitchen has announced the appointment of Legacy Russell (she/they) as its next Executive Director & Chief Curator. Russell arrives from The Studio Museum in Harlem, where she led the organization's renowned Artist-in-Residence program, helped to expand its scope of acquisitions, and organized numerous exhibitions, among which were those curated in collaboration with Director & Chief Curator Thelma Golden as part of the Studio Museum's ongoing partnership with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and MoMA PS1. Russell begins her tenure in September 2021, succeeding Tim Griffin (he/him), who has served as The Kitchen's Executive Director & Chief Curator since 2011.

Greg Feldman, Board Chairman of The Kitchen, said, "As The Kitchen embarks on its second fifty years, we are incredibly excited to welcome Legacy. She is a visionary whose dynamic ideas and presence will advance and expand our continuing mission of bringing inspiring and game-changing perspectives to the artistic and cultural landscape of New York and beyond."

Legacy Russell said, "As we respond creatively, think radically, mourn deeply, engage critically, and hold tenderly this transformative moment in New York, across America, and around the globe, I am inspired by the ways artists show us how to do the work of reimagining and remaking our existence in the world. I'm honored to join The Kitchen in shaping an art-future that is experimental, risky, playful, joyful, intersectional, and sustainable."

Thelma Golden said, "On behalf of all of us at the Studio Museum, I congratulate Legacy Russell on her appointment to this new leadership position and applaud The Kitchen for its wisdom in making this significant and historic choice. Legacy is the most recent of the brilliant arts professionals who have risen in their careers at the Studio Museum and gone on to enrich other institutions throughout the country. I look forward eagerly to seeing where she will take The Kitchen in the next phase of its important history."

As Associate Curator of Exhibitions at the Studio Museum, Russell notably organized Dozie Kanu: Function (2019) and Chloë Bass: Wayfinding (2019), each artist's first institutional solo exhibition. With Golden, Russell curated Projects: Garrett Bradley (2020) and Projects 110: Michael Armitage (2019) at MoMA. Most recently, Russell's This Longing Vessel, featuring the work of Studio Museum artists-in-residence E. Jane, Naudline Pierre, and Elliot Reed, took place at MoMA PS1 (2020). Significant acquisitions at the Studio Museum stewarded by Russell include works by artists such as Diedrick Brackens, Aya Brown, Aria Dean, Doreen Garner, Elle Pérez, Lezley Saar, Sable Elyse Smith, and Tourmaline and Sasha Wortzel. Among Russell's projects outside of the Studio Museum, she organized the online exhibition LEAN (2020) for Performa's Radical Broadcast, featuring artists Justin Allen, Jen Everett, Devin Kenny, Kalup Linzy, Rene Matić, Sadé Mica, and Leilah Weinraub; a physical iteration took place at Kunsthall Stavanger in Norway in March 2021.

Russell's academic and curatorial work and research have revolved around new media and performance as it travels through, and is mediated by, the Internet in intersection with Black and queer visual culture. Her first publication was the critically acclaimed Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto (Verso Books, 2020), celebrating the work of artists Sondra Perry, Kia LaBeija, boychild, American Artist, and shawné michaelain holloway, among many others. Russell's research toward this volume earned her the Thoma Foundation 2019 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art, as well as a Rauschenberg Residency Fellowship. Her second book, BLACK MEME (Verso Books, forthcoming) explores the construct of the "Black meme" through what Russell defines as "the copying and transmission of blackness-as-memetic-material," and is the recipient of a 2021 Creative Capital Award.

Russell's writing has also appeared in publications such as Art in America, Danspace's PLATFORM 2020: Utterances from The Chorus, DIS, Garage Magazine, Granta, Guernica, Hyperallergic, and Rhizome. She is a Contributing Editor at BOMB Magazine, as well as Visual Arts Editor for Apogee Journal. Russell has appeared in conversation with figures including Zach Blas, André Brock Jr., Lynn Hershman Leeson, Zoe Leonard, Fred Moten, and McKenzie Wark. Her recent essays include a text on Rashaad Newsome in Shift Space and a contribution to Sara Cwynar: Glass Life (Aperture, 2021). Forthcoming are contributions to exhibition catalogues for artists Camille Henrot and Frida Orupabo, in addition to monographic texts for artists Firelei Báez, Zora J Murff, and Jacolby Satterwhite. Russell holds a BA from Macalester College and a Masters of Research in Art History from Goldsmiths, University of London, where her thesis focused on the "ritualized performance of reality" and explored the work of artists in new media, movement research, video, and sound.

At The Kitchen, Russell will join a curatorial team that includes Senior Curator Lumi Tan and Curators Matthew Lyons and Alison Burstein. She will oversee her culminating exhibitions for the Studio Museum through the year's end as she takes up her post at The Kitchen. During this transition period, Griffin will continue working with The Kitchen, focusing and assisting on special projects and fundraising toward 50th anniversary initiatives.

Tim Griffin notes, "As would be true for any director, my goal during the past decade has been that The Kitchen perpetually reinvents itself as a transformative hub for each new paradigm, and next generation, of art-makers and their communities. It is absolutely thrilling to see Legacy-a brilliant curator, scholar, and theorist-lead this beloved organization into the future."


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