As the largest planned development in the United States inches closer to completion, The Shed at Hudson Yards has announced the first group of commissions to be on display during the 2019 inaugural season. The Shed will be New York City’s first and only arts center dedicated to commissioning, producing, and presenting new work across the performing arts, visual arts, and pop culture areas. The mixed-use space is expected to be open to the public sometime in the spring of 2019.
Alex Poots, The Shed’s Artistic Director and CEO announced on Tuesday that its inaugural lineup will include:
- Sound Track of America – a live performance celebrating the impact of African American music on art and pop culture over the past 100 years.
- Reich Richter Pärt – a performance and exhibition combined to demonstrate how painting and music affect the sensory experience of the other. Featured works by Steve Reich, Gerhard Richter, and Arvo Pärt will be at the heart of the exhibit.
- Norma Jean Baker of Troy – a melologue performance piece based on the Greek tragedy of Helen by Euripides.
There will also be other performances an exhibits including an open call featuring local emerging artists as well art on display from the likes of Trisha Donelly and Agnes Deane.
Perhaps the most notable feature of The Shed, its eight million pound movable shell, has been officially renamed The McCourt. The new name is in honor of a $45 million donation from Shed board member Frank H. McCourt, Jr.
Upon completion, the McCourt will have the ability to accommodate audiences ranging from 1,250 to 3,000 people. The performance space is designed to showcase large-scale events, and most importantly can be moved to join with its adjacent gallery to create almost 30,000 square feet of contiguous space. 30-foot high functional doors on two sides of the McCourt also allow for it to be used as an open-air pavilion.
The McCourt is mobile via the use of a double wheel track system which is based on gantry crane technology, something most commonly used in the loading and unloading of cargo ships. A rack and pinion drive is used to move the shell to its desired location on four single-axle and two double-axle wheels, which measure six feet in diameter. From start to finish, the McCourt can be put into place in only five minutes.
The shell itself is comprised of an exposed steel diagrid frame covered by teflon-based panels made of a lightweight material called ethylene tetrafluoroethylene or more simply ETFE. ETFE is advantageous to a structure like this because it is a fraction of the weight of thermal glass, but offers the same insulating properties. It is also translucent, and will offer natural light as well as sufficient durability to withstand hurricane force winds.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed the space in collaboration with the Rockwell Group, and it will offer up a total of 200,00o square feet which can physically transform to meet the needs of featured artists. The Shed’s eight-level base will feature two column-free galleries totaling 25,000 square feet, as well as a 500-seat theater, which can be subdivided into smaller spaces as needed.