The Shed opens today, April 5, with commissioned new works in the performing arts, visual arts, and pop culture in the Bloomberg building’s innovative, flexible spaces
Evening view of The Shed from 30th Street. Photo: Iwan Baan, courtesy The Shed. Project: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Lead Architect, and Rockwell Group, Collaborating Architect.
Housed in The Bloomberg Building—designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Lead Architect, and Rockwell Group, Collaborating Architect—the structure features an innovative, movable structure that adapts to support new work of all kinds.
The Shed’s primary program spaces include two floors of expansive galleries, the versatile 500-seat Griffin Theater, and The McCourt, a multiuse hall for large-scale performances, installations, and events for audiences ranging from 1,250 seated to more than 2,000 standing. A rehearsal space, lab for local artists, and event space are located in The Tisch Skylights on the top floor.
When deployed, The Shed’s telescoping outer shell creates a 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2), light-, sound-, and temperature-controlled space, The McCourt, named in recognition of Shed Board Member Frank McCourt, Jr., and his family. The space can accommodate an audience of approximately 1,250 seated or more than 2,000 standing. Large operable doors on its north and east sides allow The McCourt to function as an open-air pavilion. When the shell is nested over the base building, the 20,000-square-foot (1860 m2) Plaza will be open public space that also can be used for outdoor exhibitions and events.
The Shed features two expansive and flexible, column-free galleries on Levels 2 and 4 of the base building, totaling more than 25,000 square feet (2,340 m2) of museum-quality space with 19-foot-high (6 m) ceilings. Operable east-side walls can conjoin the galleries with The McCourt to accommodate space or seating needs for large-scale installations and performances.
An 11,700-square-foot (1,080 m2), sound-isolated black box space on Level 6, The Kenneth C. Griffin Theater, can be used as a single large theater with 500 seats or subdivided into two smaller theaters that can host concurrent events.
The Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Skylights and The Tisch Lab (Level 8) feature a 1,700-square-foot (160 m2) creative lab for local artists, a 3,300-square-foot (305 m2) rehearsal space, and a 9,500-square-foot (880 m2) flexible, multipurpose space for events.
The big opening takes place today. After a decade of ambitious planning, The Shed opens its huge multi-dimensional structure to the public, stirring curiosity and wonder. It’s giant footprint and Nasa-like engineered aesthetic hits the commercially induced Hudson Yards cityscape; a puffed-up culture sensation.
Unlike some of the momentous urban city centers of artistic creativity, where commerce follows culture, this real estate development shortcuts historic process with an economics inspired model of a culture mall.
In charge of The Shed’s artistic vision, international powerhouse producer Alex Poots keeps his artistic goals vaguely open ended : “As a commissioning home for artists from the worlds of performance, visual arts, and pop, The Shed is a place for all artists and all audiences to meet.” (Artistic Director and CEO Alex Poots)
Accordingly, The Shed offers a broad menu. Programs will range “across all art forms for all audiences, dedicated to the pursuit of boundless artistic ambitions,” (Dan Doctoroff, Chair of The Shed’s Board of Directors) The initial program features a world premiere of Soundtrack of America. The five-night concert series, conceived and directed by Steve McQueen with a creative team led by Quincy Jones and Maureen Mahon, celebrates the unrivaled impact of African American music on contemporary culture with performances by a new generation of artists. The opening commissions continue on April 6 with new work by artist Trisha Donnelly and the world premiere of Reich Richter Pärt, an immersive live performance installation from iconic artists Steve Reich, Gerhard Richter, and Arvo Pärt, featuring new works by Richter and a new composition by Reich. The world premiere of Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, a specially commissioned spoken and sung dramatic work by poet and scholar Anne Carson, starring Ben Whishaw and Renée Fleming, directed by Katie Mitchell, will be performed on April 9 (with previews on April 6 and 7).