2019 Commissions

Additional commissions for The Sheds 2019 inaugural season will be announced periodically. Further details about these programs, remaining commissions for the 2019 inaugural season, and on-sale dates for tickets will be announced later this year.

Norma Jeane Baker of Troy

Anne Carson, a poet and professor of Classics whose radically original Eros the Bittersweet: An Essay, and Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse number among the great contemporary literary achievements, continues her formal experimentations with this melologue (partly spoken, partly sung) performance piece based on the Euripides’ ancient Greek tragedy Helen. Written for actor Ben Whishaw (Bright Star, Skyfall, The Crucible) and legendary soprano Renée Fleming, Norma Jeane Baker of Troy will be directed by Katie Mitchell (National Theatre’s The Seagull), with music by Paul Clark (co-founder of the Clod Ensemble, Here All Night at Gare St. Lazare’s Beckett in London Festival). (Location: Theater)

Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise
(Working Title)

Chen Shi-Zheng

Conceived and directed by Chen Shi-Zheng (Peony Pavilion at Lincoln Center Festival; Monkey: Journey to the West at Manchester International Festival) and written and developed Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger (Kung Fu Panda I–III, Trolls), Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise is an immersive multimedia interpretation of a Chinese myth about a sect in Queens that holds the power to extend human life.

Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise features songs by Sia (1000 Forms of Fear, This is Acting)movement and aerial choreography by Akram Khan (English National Ballet’s Giselle, Royal National Theatre’s in-i); and production design and costumes by Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). (Location: The McCourt)

Agnes Denes

Wheatfield—A Confrontation, 1982. Two acres of wheat planted and harvested by the artist on the Battery Park landfill, Manhattan, Summer 1982. Courtesy of Agnes Denes; commissioned by Public Art Fund.

Agnes Denes (b. 1931, Budapest) rose to international attention in the 1960s and 1970s as a leading figure in conceptual and environmental/ecological art.  A pioneer of several art movements, she is difficult to categorize, and employs a broad spectrum of media to explore science, philosophy, linguistics, and the human condition, in an artistic practice that weds aesthetics to social engagement. Denes has participated in more than 600 exhibitions in galleries, museums and the public realm throughout the world and her work is in the collections of major public and private institutions. Her survey exhibition at The Shed (2019) which will include major new commissions, will be her largest show in New York City to date, filling all 20,000 square feet of The Shed’s galleries. (Location: Gallery I & II)


Rendering of The Shed and Lawrence Weiner’s <em>IN FRONT OF ITSELF</em>. Courtesy Diller Scofido + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group.
Rendering of The Shed and Lawrence Weiner’s IN FRONT OF ITSELF. Courtesy Diller Scofido + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group.

The Shed’s first visual art commission will be a large-scale, site-specific work by one of the world’s most influential artists, Lawrence Weiner (b. 1942). Fabricated with custom paving stones embedded in the building’s plaza—a dynamic area that will serve as a walkable outdoor space when the movable shell is nested or as the base of its largest program space, The McCourt, when the shell is extended to the east—the 20,000-square-foot work is titled IN FRONT OF ITSELF and will feature that phrase in 12-foot-high letters.


 Soundtrack of America

The Soundtrack of America creative team introduces the program.

Conceived by Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, Soundtrack of America celebrates the unrivaled impact of African American music on art and popular culture over the past 100 years, tracing African American music’s global impact from its roots in the 17th century to present-day hip-hop, R&B, jazz, and pop. Soundtrack of America will present a weeklong concert series by leading musicians, all representing different branches of this historical family tree.

The program will be developed in partnership with 27-time Grammy Award-winner and chief music advisor Quincy Jones, NYU Associate Professor of Music Maureen Mahon, and preeminent hip hop producer Dion ‘No I.D.’ Wilson. Advisors Regina N. Bradley, Nelson George, Alisha Lola Jones, Hamza Walker, and Matthew D. Morrison will support the creative team. (Location: The McCourt)

Reich Richter Pärt

Gerhard Richter <em>930-6 Strip</em> (2013/2016). Digital print on paper mounted between Alu Dibond and Perspex (Diasec) 78 11/16 x 393 11/16 inches (200 x 1000 cm). Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.
Gerhard Richter 930-6 Strip (2013/2016). Digital print on paper mounted between Alu Dibond and Perspex (Diasec) 78 11/16 x 393 11/16 inches (200 x 1000 cm). Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.

Reich Richter Pärt plumbs the depths of a shared language between painting and music, exploring how each medium might affect our sensory experience of the other. The Shed’s 12,500-square-foot Gallery I will be divided into two spaces: one will house a collaboration between Steve Reich and Gerhard Richter, the other between Richter and Arvo Pärt, each expanding on a shared interest in the historical significance of the relationship between art and music. The Reich/Richter partnership is based on the notion of seriality and expands on both Richter’s formula for his “Patterns” series, which divides, mirrors, and repeats a single painting, and Reich’s systematic compositions from the 1960s and ’70s. Together, Reich’s music and Richter’s paintings become a unified work  with a shared structure between art and music. The world premiere of Reich’s new commission will be performed by musicians from the Ensemble Signal, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and AXIOM.

Pairing Richter paintings with music is a concept first developed by Alex Poots and Hans Ulrich Obrist for the 2015 Manchester International Festival, for which Pärt was commissioned to compose a choral piece, Drei Hirtenkinder aus Fátima, in response to new paintings by Richter. Members of Vox Clamantis from Estonia and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street will perform this piece in the other half of the gallery. As an extension of this exhibition, Richter, with the filmmaker Corinna Belz, will make a film for his collaboration with Reich. The film will grow out of the algorithmic processing of Richter’s abstract paintings. (Location: Gallery I)

Trisha Donnelly

Trisha Donnelly, <em>No title (</em>2018). Video still. Courtesy the artist.
Trisha Donnelly, No title (2018). Video still. Courtesy the artist.

Trisha Donnelly was born in 1974 in San Francisco; she now lives and works in New York.


A Prelude to

May 1–13, 2018

  • ABRA
  • Kunlé Adeyemi
  • Arca
  • Azealia Banks
  • William Forsythe
  • Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray
  • Tino Sehgal
10th Ave and 31st St

Admission is free. Please register below to be notified when online reservations are available in April, or visit the Prelude site in May for walk-up entry.

From May 1 to 13, The Shed will present A Prelude to The Shed, a free, multi-arts event on an undeveloped lot at Tenth Avenue and 31st Street in Manhattan, one block from our permanent home opening in 2019.

A transformable structure is as vital to the architecture of Prelude as it is for The Shed, a building designed to flexibly accommodate multiple artistic disciplines under one roof. Kunlé Adeyemi of NLE Works has collaborated closely with Tino Sehgal to design a temporary space in which dancers move and reconfigure the structure in a fluid integration of architecture and choreography.

Over the course of these two weeks, each day’s events will be seamlessly connected by Seghal’s This variation, an immersive dance/sound piece, which will in turn be interwoven with a new work by William Forsythe commissioned for Prelude—a radical reimagining of his seminal 1987 ballet In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated.

The Shed’s pre-opening dance commission, FlexNYC, will present several dance battles. On multiple evenings Prelude will feature a series of live solo concerts by Atlanta-based R&B singer-songwriter ABRA; Venezuelan electronic music producer, DJ, and songwriter Arca; and New York-based rapper and singer-songwriter Azealia Banks.

Artist Asad Raza will lead an experimental school each morning, based on his ongoing work Schema for a School. Panels on alternate evenings will focus on new institutional models for the 21st century: the politics of ritualized gatherings, and the role of art and culture in social connectivity. Scholar, writer, and curator Dorothea von Hantelmann organized the talks in collaboration with The Shed’s artistic advisor, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Chief Science and Technology Officer, Kevin Slavin.

If you are interested in participating in Schema for a School please apply here.

Frank H. McCourt, Jr., a board member and founding supporter of The Shed, generously donated the site for Prelude.

Prelude is programmed by Alex Poots, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Tino Sehgal, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Julia Simpson, Tamara McCaw, and Kevin Slavin.