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The Shed Announces Winter/Spring 2022 Season Featuring Cecily Strong's New York Theatrical Debut & More

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The Shed’s winter/spring season begins in late December with a new production of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.

The Shed Announces Winter/Spring 2022 Season Featuring Cecily Strong's New York Theatrical Debut & More

Alex Poots, Artistic Director and CEO, today announced five new commissions by pioneering artists from across the performing arts, visual arts, and pop culture for The Shed's winter/spring 2022 season. After more than a year of reduced operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, The Shed will welcome audiences for new productions, exhibitions, and experiences that further its mission of producing and presenting innovative art and ideas, across all forms of creativity.

"We remain committed to supporting and producing a diverse range of artists to create and present new work that speaks to the urgent issues of our time, such as climate change, race, identity, community, and the power of artistic invention," said Alex Poots. "Earlier this year we presented some of Manhattan's first indoor performances with audiences, followed by a summer of new work by a wide range of emerging NYC artists all free to the public. Now, as we look to the fall and next year, we continue our dedication to NYC's revival."

The Shed's winter/spring season begins in late December with a new production of Jane Wagner's iconic, one-woman play, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, in its first New York staging in two decades. This revisited existential comedic masterpiece of American culture is directed by Leigh Silverman and features Cecily Strong in her New York theatrical debut in the role originated by Lily Tomlin.

This season features two commissions that were postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic: Claudia Rankine's new play, Help, and the monumental exhibition Particular Matter(s) by Tomás Saraceno. The subject of these shows could not be more relevant. In March, Rankine's Help, directed by Taibi Magar, boldly addresses the many facets of white male privilege. This fall, in anticipation of Help, The Shed will stream a free, encore presentation of November, a 2020 film adapted from the play, directed by Phillip Youmans.

Opening in February, Tomás Saraceno: Particular Matter(s) explores climate change and climate inequity in three of The Shed's four program spaces, offering a large-scale sensory experience. Also in February, Anonymous Club, the creative studio led by designer Shayne Oliver, brings three distinct cultural events to The Shed's Griffin Theater during New York Fashion Week, celebrating the vibrant culture that the collective has worked to define and redefine with their family of artistic collaborators through music, fashion, and performance. In April, The Shed presents a new work by Wu Tsang to be announced.

As part of its commitment to collaborating with local organizations, The Shed is hosting The Bushwick Starr in a residency this month during which their artistic teams will develop two projects for their upcoming season: Hillary Miller's PREPAREDNESS and Ellpetha Tsivicos and Camilo Quiroz-Vazquez's QUINCE. "In this past year we've continued to learn the importance of partnering and collaborating with like-minded companies to pool our resources to serve artists," said Noel Allain, Bushwick Starr's Artistic Director and Co-Founder. "We're very grateful to The Shed for opening the doors of their beautiful facility to host us and these artists in a time of need."

The Shed's multidisciplinary commissioning program is developed by Artistic Director and CEO Alex Poots with the senior program team, including Chief Curator Emma Enderby, Chief Civic Program Officer Tamara McCaw, and Chief Executive Producer Madani Younis, with Senior Program Advisor Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Tickets for The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe go on sale on November 5 (member presale begins November 2); sales dates for the rest of the season will be announced. Visit TheShed.org for more information.

WINTER/SPRING 2022 COMMISSIONS

The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe

By Jane Wagner, Directed by Leigh Silverman, and Starring Cecily Strong
December 21, 2021 - February 5, 2022
The Griffin Theater
Jane Wagner's iconic play, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, is revisited in a new production starring Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live, Schmigadoon!) in her New York theatrical debut. Directed by Tony-nominated Leigh Silverman (The Lifespan of a Fact, Violet), the ever timely one-woman play explores American society, art, power, and the feminist movement through a comedic and quick-witted investigation. Lily Tomlin, who originated the role, serves as executive producer with Wagner. The creative team includes set design by Christine Jones and Mary Hamrick, costume design by Anita Yavich, lighting design by Stacey Derosier, sound design by Elisheba Ittoop, and choreography by James Alsop.

Tomás Saraceno: Particular Matter(s)

February 9 - April 17, 2022
The McCourt, and Level 2 and Level 4 Galleries
Through floating sculptures, interactive installations, and an artistic process that centers collaboration, artist Tomás Saraceno proposes a conversation between human and nonhuman lifeforms that have been disregarded in the Capitalocene era (our devastating geological epoch defined by the effects of capitalism on the earth), such as the air, spiders and their webs, and impacted communities. In a call for environmental justice, Saraceno's artistic collaborations renew relationships with the terrestrial, atmospheric, and cosmic realms, particularly as part of his community projects, Aerocene and Arachnophilia. Particular Matter(s), the artist's largest exhibition in the US to date, brings this layered approach together, celebrating the complexity of our collective existence while looking for ways to live together differently. The exhibition features new and existing works in The Shed's two galleries and a large-scale, immersive commission that cultivates "arts of noticing" in The McCourt, The Shed's largest space. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and a robust public program in partnership with The Earth Institute, Columbia University.

HEADLESS: THE GLASS CEILING by Anonymous Club

February 10 - 12, 2022
The Griffin Theater
In February, Anonymous Club, the creative studio led by designer Shayne Oliver, brings three distinct nights of cultural events to The Shed's Griffin Theater during New York Fashion Week, celebrating the vibrant culture the studio has worked to define and redefine with their family of artistic collaborators through music, fashion, and performance over the years. Anonymous Club is a creative studio formed through mentorship and collective experimentation that creates radical art and artifacts designed to upend tradition, infiltrate the mainstream, and remake pop culture in its image. Each night will be dedicated to a distinct facet of Anonymous Club through the concept of "headlessness," a term coined by Oliver that embodies being over-the-top, or extravagant.

Help

By Claudia Rankine, Directed by Taibi Magar
March 15 - April 10, 2022
The Griffin Theater
After closing during previews in March 2020 due to the pandemic, The Shed presents the world premiere of Help, a new play by acclaimed author and poet Claudia Rankine (Just Us, Citizen: An American Lyric), directed by Obie Award-winner Taibi Magar (Is God Is, Soho Rep). Derived from Rankine's deep inquiry and ongoing investigation into white male privilege, Help features the Narrator who recounts Rankine's real-life conversations with white men that take place in transitional spaces like airports. As the stories unfold through monologues and staged scenarios, Help explores how these conversations can go right, wrong, or raise new questions. The creative team includes set design by Mimi Lien, choreography by Shamel Pitts, and lighting design by John Torres.

A new work by Wu Tsang

April 15 - 17, 2022
The Griffin Theater
Filmmaker and visual artist Wu Tsang presents a new work in The Griffin Theater. Additional details are to be announced.

FALL 2021 PROGRAMMING

Ian Cheng: Life After BOB

On view through December 19
Level 4 Gallery
Ian Cheng: Life After BOB is an episodic anime series that imagines a future world in which our minds are co-inhabited by AI entities. Bridging the artist's interest in both open-ended simulation and the capacity of cinematic storytelling to evoke deep psychological truths, Life After BOB asks: How will life lived with AI transform the archetypal scripts that guide our sense of a meaningful existence? This exhibition invites audiences to watch the large-scale experience of the 48-minute narrative anime and then explore the Life After BOB world through interactive "World Watching." Ian Cheng's Life After BOB: The Chalice Study is co-commissioned by The Shed (New York), Luma Foundation, and Light Art Space (Berlin).

DRIFT: Fragile Future

Soundtrack by ANOHNI
On view through December 19
Level 2 Gallery and The McCourt
Presented by Superblue and The Shed
In Fragile Future, multidisciplinary artists DRIFT transform The Shed with sound, movement, and film in experiential installations that play on our senses and compel us to imagine alternative solutions for a positive future. Featuring a soundtrack created by ANOHNI, the exhibition's installations-from multitudes of shimmering lights that traverse the gallery like glowing seeds caught in the wind to massive concrete blocks, or Drifters, that magically float on air-offer a hopeful atmosphere for imagining a different world. On select dates, Drifters becomes a surreal immersive performance that spans The Shed's four-story-high, 17,000-square-foot McCourt space.

Up Close

Launched in April 2020, Up Close is an online series that invites artists and creative thinkers to contribute new digital artworks and discussions exploring what it means to think about the world and make art right now. Up Close comes to an end this fall with the final commission by artists Salome Asega and Keenan MacWilliam premiering on October 19. Hey Mary! explores the cultural significance of hand-clapping games through a simple online visual sequencer where audiences can create their own hand-clapping choreography by dragging and dropping animations of each motion into a sequencer interface. The game will be accompanied by a video, edited documentation of a past hand-clapping performance on the High Line spearheaded by the artists in collaboration with Wide Rainbow and The Marching Cobras, as well as a conversation between the artists and an expert in Black girl musical play.

November

By Claudia Rankine, Directed by Phillip Youmans with stage direction by Taibi Magar
Streaming free at TheShed.org, November 1 - 14
Phillip Youmans's film November, commissioned and produced by The Shed in association with Tribeca Studios, is an artistic response to Rankine's original stage play Help. It centers on the Narrator, portrayed by five actresses (Zora Howard, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, Crystal Dickinson, April Matthis, Melanie Nicholls-King) who present Rankine's real-life conversations with white men she encounters in transitional spaces like airports. Filmed live in The Shed's McCourt space and on location in New York City in fall 2020, the Narrator discusses how our civic and social structures are dominated by white men as the work sets out to create a shared sense of reality. As Rankine asks, "A reality in which there is agreement not in how to respond but in what we see is happening. If it's raining, can we all agree it is raining?" Vignettes of Black life complement this reckoning.

Ticketing and General Information

Tickets for Ian Cheng: Life After BOB and DRIFT: Fragile Future are on sale now. Tickets for The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe go on sale on November 5 (member pre-sale begins November 2); sales dates for the rest of the winter/spring season will be announced. For additional information, visit TheShed.org or call (646) 455-3494.

Cedric's at The Shed, a bar from Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group, is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm. McNally Jackson at The Shed, an arts-focused bookshop, will reopen in the upcoming weeks.

In accordance with the New York City mandate, exhibition visitors 12 years and older must be vaccinated against Covid-19, and visitors two years and older must wear a mask. Proof of vaccination is required and may include CDC Vaccination Card (or photo), NYC COVID Safe app, New York State Excelsior Pass, NYC Vaccination Record, or an official immunization record from outside NYC or the US. Read more details at NYC.gov. Safety guidelines for performances will be announced


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