As Bloomberg Mulls a Presidential Run, His Namesake Art Shed Will Open With an Ambitious—And Decidedly Woke—Lineup

A show pairing Tony Cokes and Oscar Murillo is among the newly announced programming.

The Shed. Photo by Brett Beyer.

New York City’s next big arts and cultural nonprofit, the Shed at Hudson Yards, will open April 5. The modular, 200,000-square-foot building—which boasts a moveable shell—will be called the Bloomberg Building, after the city’s former mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who was the project’s lead donor with a $75 million gift. The Shed has been designed by lead architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro and collaborating architect the Rockwell Group.

“Nearly 15 years ago, Mayor Mike Bloomberg had the vision to embark on a complete transformation of Manhattan’s west side, and he had the foresight to know the Hudson Yards area needed a cultural anchor to ensure a vibrant and accessible future,” said Daniel L. Doctoroff, chairman of the Shed’s board of directors, in a statement. “The Shed is key to that vision.”

Bloomberg is reportedly considering throwing his hat into the ring ahead of the 2020 presidential election, potentially running as a Democrat—despite having been elected mayor of New York as a Republican and independent. He campaigned heavily on behalf of Democrats in last year’s midterms, and no longer believes that running as an independent—a path he has long considered—is a plausible path to the presidency, as reported by the New York Times.

The Shed has also announced the full programming line-up for its inaugural season, featuring a surprisingly diverse range of artists. (The once-mysterious institution will commission, develop, and present new works of art encompassing pop culture as well as the visual and performing arts.)

Michael Bloomberg, billionaire and former Mayor of New York City, speaks at CityLab Detroit. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images.

Michael Bloomberg, billionaire and former mayor of New York City. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images.

To kick things off, there will be a lecture from rapper and producer Boots Riley, director of hit 2018 film Sorry to Bother You, on May 10, titled “Art and Civil Disobedience with Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You).” Later in the month, artist Latasha “LATASHÁ” Alcindor will present “POWERPLAY,” an original production blending hip hop, spoken word, dance, and moving images (May 18 and 19).

An newly announced two-person art exhibition (June 19–August 25) featuring Tony Cokes and Oscar Murillo will continue the latter’s critique of globalization with work inspired by Man at the Crossroads, the Diego Rivera mural New York’s Rockefeller Center that was famously destroyed because of its depiction of Vladimir Lenin. Coke’s contributions to the show promise to present “pop music in a new, confrontational context.”

The Shed will also screen Yanina Valdivieso and Vanessa Bergonzoli’s documentary film Beatriz González: Cinta Amarilla (June 19–August 25), which tells the story of Beatriz González’s fight to save her public artwork, Auras Anónimas, at Bogotá’s central cemetery. The installation is an mausoleum installation with 8,957 gravestones honoring those who died.

Beatriz González, <em>Auras Anónimas</em>. Photo by Roberto Angulo, via Twitter.

Beatriz González, Auras Anónimas. Photo by Roberto Angulo, via Twitter.

Finally, street dance pioneer Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray will debut a new production called Maze (July 23–August 17), in which small audiences will stand face-to-face with dancers performing flexn, a dance style he previously showcased at the Park Avenue Armory in 2017.

The Shed had already announced a five-night concert series, “Soundtrack of America,” demonstrating the widespread impact of African American music. Kicking off on opening night, April 5, it’s the brainchild of filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen.

There’s also a Marilyn Monroe- and Helen of Troy-inspired dramatic piece from poet Anne Carson titled Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, starring Ben Whishaw and Renée Fleming (April 6–May 19) and a concert, Björk’s Cornucopia, from Icelandic songstress Björk and theater collaborators including director John Tiffany of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (May 6–June 1), among other planned performances.

Bjork performs at the Roskilde Festival in Roskilde on July 8, 2012. Photo courtesy Malte Kristiansen/AFP/Getty Images.

Bjork performs at the Roskilde Festival in Roskilde on July 8, 2012. Photo courtesy Malte Kristiansen/AFP/Getty Images.

On the visual art side, German artist Gerhard Richter teams up with composers Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich for “Reich Richter Pärt,” a live performance-exhibition combining a new composition by Reich with an extant Pärt piece set against a backdrop Richter works (April 6–June 2).

In “Open Call,” 52 New York City-based emerging artists and collectives will develop and exhibit work at the Shed (May 30–August 25, and continuing in 2020), while 80-year-old conceptual artist Agnes Denes, a longtime New York resident perhaps best-known for planting a massive wheat field at the site of the future World Trade Center, will have an exhibition that includes newly commissioned work opening October 2.

“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,” said the Shed’s artistic director and CEO, Alex Poots, in a statement, promising “the widest range of art forms in spaces that can accommodate artists’ most inventive and ambitious ideas.”

Agnes Denes, Wheatfield–A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill (1982), New York, commissioned by Public Art Fund. Photo: John McGrail.

Agnes Denes, Wheatfield–A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill (1982), New York, commissioned by Public Art Fund. Photo courtesy of John McGrail.

As the massive project nears the finish line—to date they’ve raised $488 million of its $550 million capital campaign goal—Jonathan Tisch, vice chairman of the Shed’s board, and his wife Lizzie Tisch have pledged a new $27.5 million gift. The Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Skylights and The Tisch Lab, an event and rehearsal space and an experimental artist lab, both on the Shed’s top floor, have been named in their honor.

The Shed is located at 15 Hudson Yards, on West 30th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues.

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 and separate live production tickets will go on sale to the public February 6.

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