Nearly 15 years ago, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg set out to transform the West Side. Thus began the ambitious vision, finally come to fruition, of Hudson Yards. Intending an extraordinary city-within-a-city, a worldwide hub of commerce and innovation, Bloomberg yet knew that there needed to be a cultural anchor to the development. After all, Hudson Yards is not all business, it’s also residential, a new neighborhood within the international melting pot that is Manhattan. There needed to be something that would bring the city in, keep the neighborhood fresh, vibrant, and ever-changing. That something is The Shed.
Eight-levels, 200,000-square-feet, and on sliding rails which retract its outer shell into and out of Building 15, depending on the situation, The Shed is the long-awaited arts center at Hudson Yards. Containing a creative lab, a rehearsal space, two levels of gallery space, and a multipurpose theater, the revolutionary design by architects Elizabeth Diller and David Rockwell features the telescopic outer shell which opens out to the adjacent plaza with 9,500 extra square-feet of sky-lit space. Altogether, The Shed supports artists and creatives at all levels and for all purposes. Whether emerging artists displaying smaller scale exhibits, or world-famous artists performing large-scale events, the varying capacities of the temperature-controlled Shed accommodates them all.
The anticipated space is finally ready to open its doors, complete with a full first year of programming and an impressive and exciting opening kick-off.
On April 5, The Shed finally opens its doors with five full nights of multi-genre art exploring African-American music. The event, called “Soundtrack of America,” is curated by Quincy Jones and directed by filmmaker Steve McQueen.
Following the opening, The Shed has a full year planned of performing arts, visual arts, and pop culture events, ranging from small and experimental to massive and world-renowned.
For starters, The Shed’s innovative program, “Open Call” is a commissioning of 52 emerging NYC artists whose new works will be exhibited through 2020.
“‘Open Call’ is a way to offer support and valuable resources to artists in New York City who are at pivotal stages of their careers,” Alex Poots, The Shed’s artistic director and CEO, said in a statement. Specifically, the program was developed for artists who have yet to be given the full support and resources from a large cultural institution, and who push the boundaries in six disciplines: design, visual arts, music, performing arts, literary arts, and cinema.
“We have built a home where established and emerging artists working in all disciplines can create new work in ways that we cannot even imagine,” Poots said. He promises “the widest range of art forms in spaces that can accommodate artists’ most inventive and ambitious ideas.” The works will be presented in The Shed’s black-box theater, the massive, column-free gallery, and the open-air plaza created when The Shed’s outer shell is nested.
As to large-scale events of national and international renown, The Shed’s first-year lineup is impressive. Following the extravagant opening, programming includes lectures by rapper and filmmaker Boots Riley, a Björk concert with theater collaborations by director John Tiffany (of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), and a Kung Fu musical featuring songs by Sia. Additionally, The Shed will feature the works of composer Steve Reich, artist Gerhard Richter, soprano Renée Fleming, and street dance pioneer Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray, to name just a few.
Located directly off the High Line at 15 Hudson Yards, on West 30th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, The Shed promises to be the premiere headquarters of interdisciplinary art on the West Side.
Operating hours will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday from 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Exhibitions will cost $10, with separate live production tickets which have already gone on sale to the public.