The audacity of the vision behind this new arts center is startling . . . and exciting. Instead of programming The Shed for seasons of original works interspersed with pieces brought in from other similar institutions (the modus operandi of pretty much every other museum and performance space in the city), artistic director Alexander Poots has vowed to only show works created specifically for this site. It’s a bold move both artistically and financially: The first season had a whopping $50 million budget, according to the New York Times. It also brought in big names from a variety of genres: singer Bjork presented a hugely theatrical concert, opera great Renee Fleming starred in a performance art piece about Marilyn Monroe and Helen of Troy, and a collaboration between painter/videographer Gerhard Richter and composers Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich resulted in one of the most rapturously beautiful immersive theater pieces/art exhibitions I’ve ever had the luck to attend. 

And the building itself is startling. Set on massive wheels, it can be “nested” into the tower behind it, creating an open-air pavilion for outdoor performances. Its exterior is covered with what looks like a giant silver puffy coat (like one you’d wear skiing). Inside are a maze of spaces, some with redwood-tree-height ceilings, others a bit more intimate, but all able to be reconfigured at the whim of the artist for a number of different uses, from art exhibits to performances, meaning The Shed will wear a different face each time you visit. Right now, advance purchase tickets are a must for all events, though interest may wane as the Shed becomes less of a newbie.
advertisement