The Shed (545 W 30th) – New York City’s latest bid in maintaining a stranglehold on its novum caput mundi status – debuts in 2019 as a unique platform for artistic expression, from the popular to the loftiest of forms, across a multitude of visual and performance disciplines. Daniel L. Doctoroff, board of directors chairman, and Alex Poots, CEO and founding artistic director, welcomed some of the city’s community leaders and media to witness its construction progress. Misters Doctoroff and Poots spoke of building an unprecedented cultural locus here, connecting world class talents in the humanities and the sciences to drive future generations in creativity, innovation, and experimentation. Elaborating on The Shed’s ambition and scope, they revealed plans for local as well as international originally produced, commissioned, or collaborated exhibitions.
Project architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro in partnership with the Rockwell Group were represented by Elizabeth Diller and David Rockwell, who announced the recent completion of all steel installation and revealed the facility’s most distinctive feature: a spectacular outer shell that extends and retracts across the plaza. Inspired by Cedric Price’s 1961 Fun Palace concept of manipulating the environment with the latest technology, the structure’s spatial elasticity enables The Shed to accommodate multidisciplinary showings and events as required. When the shell is nested, the plaza serves as an outdoor setting. When deployed, it turns that space into a 17,000-square-foot light, sound, and temperature-controlled multipurpose hall or theatre. This capability was briefly but no less breathtakingly demonstrated at the gathering where attendees cheered as the shell moved over a double wheel track based on a gantry crane system. Incidentally, this main plaza is itself a large-scale art piece of custom paving stones commissioned for The Shed entitled “In Front of Itself” by noted artist Lawrence Weiner.
The main structure houses a variety of galleries, divisible spaces, and a revolutionary creative science lab to be overseen by chief science and technology officer Kevin Slavin. Artists will have access here to developing virtual reality, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, and location-based technologies applicable to their individual endeavors in furthering groundbreaking artistic ideas. Key to accomplishing the breadth of The Shed’s goals is hitting the capital target, now within reach following a generous donation from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The gift comes with Mr. Mike Bloomberg’s enthusiastic championing of the project, and his continued support of the city’s progress, evident prior to, during, and after his service as mayor. Conceived as a cultural linchpin for the in-development Hudson Yards, this thrilling new facility is poised to secure New York’s leadership in the arts for generations to come.
Preview Event Images at The Shed photography © by Simon Luethi: (from left) David Rockwell, Liz Diller, Patti Harris (Bloomberg Philanthropies), Alex Poots, and Dan Doctoroff/Frank H. McCourt Jr ( McCourt Global) and Diane Von Furstenberg/Noah Horowitz (Art Basel) and Philip Mayer Kaiser/Lauren and Andres Santo Domingo/The Shed rendering by Diller Scofidio+Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group