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Legacy Russell. Photo: Andreas Laszlo Konrath.
Legacy Russell. Photo: Andreas Laszlo Konrath.

Legacy Russell Named Executive Director of the Kitchen

Storied New York arts nonprofit the Kitchen has appointed Legacy Russell executive director and chief curator. Russell, who since 2018 has served as associate curator of exhibitions at the Studio Museum in Harlem, will take up her new post in September, succeeding Tim Griffin, who led the organization for a decade. She will be the first Black woman to head the Kitchen, a bastion for experimental music and performance art, in the half century since it was established.

Russell, who specializes in performance, digital, and internet-based practices, which she elevated at the Studio Museum, holds a BA from Macalester College and a master’s of research in art history from Goldsmith’s, University of London. She is the author of 2020’s Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto, which won widespread acclaim, and of the forthcoming Black Meme, an exploration of the copying and transmission of Blackness via memes. A recipient of a 2021 Creative Capital award, she has written for publications including Art in America, DIS, Granta, Guernica, Hyperallergic, and Rhizome. She is contributing editor at BOMB and the visual arts editor of Apogee Journal.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Legacy,” said Kitchen board chair Greg Feldman in a statement. “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.”

Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum, congratulated the Kitchen on snapping up Russell, whose appointment she described as “significant and historic,” while outgoing Kitchen director Griffin called the choice of Russell to lead the organization “thrilling,” telling the New York Times, “She creates visionary relationships among artists.”

Russell gave the Times a hint as to how she regards the future role of the Kitchen. “I think deeply about intersections—across Blackness, queerness, feminist histories—and the future possibilities of taking risks,” she told the paper, “and how art institutions can play a critical role in making that possible, by giving artists the support to take monumental risks.”