The Shed Launches Open Call Commissioning Program May 30

The Shed Launches Open Call Commissioning Program May 30

Open Call, The Shed's commissioning and programming initiative for New York-based emerging artists, launches on Thursday, May 30, with new works by seven artists and collectives presented in The Griffin Theater over six weeks. The inaugural program continues June 19 through August 25 with a group show of 22 artists and collectives in Level 2 Gallery and presentations of new work by 15 artists and collectives in The Shed's open-air Plaza; a fourth group will be presented in 2020.

Developed specifically for artists living and/or working in New York City who had not yet had opportunities to create new work with full support from a large cultural institution, Open Call is integral to The Shed's mission to develop and present the full spectrum of performing arts, visual arts, and pop culture, under one roof, for all audiences. Fifty-two artists and collectives were commissioned for The Shed's inaugural Open Call. Admission is free with reservations.

Open Call ensures that emerging artists from the five boroughs are given more opportunities, and the resources they need to make and present new work, said Alex Poots, Artistic Director and CEO of The Shed.

As a civic institution on city-owned land, we take seriously our responsibility to reflect, respond, and support the diverse artists living and working in the five boroughs, said Tamara McCaw, Chief Civic Program Officer. We know the pressures artists face and with Open Call developed a program that centers New York City artists of all art forms by providing support, resources, and commissioning opportunities.

For Open Call, we wanted a clear and simple mission: to commission New York City emerging artists across all disciplines in the creation of new work, said Emma Enderby, Senior Curator of The Shed. Through a panel process, colleagues in the field and artists selected fifty-two from over 900 applications, and over the course of a year The Shed has been developing the projects with them. It is a privilege to work with such a talented cohort of artists and collectives, and we thank them for their trust in us, before we had even opened our doors.

Group 1: The Griffin Theater
May 30 July 6

May 30 June 1 at 7:30 pm
Richard Kennedy, Creator
The three-act opera HIR, an apocalyptic creation myth, tells the story of five queer, super-intelligent beings following the implosion of Nightmerica. The two Mad Sisters break free from the Same Simulation and free three Rad Sisters, simultaneously liberating a collective intelligence that will rebuild Hirth. Act 1 begins with a great awakening in 2016 that triggers the final Patriarch Ki apocalypse. Act II, set in 3033, emerges from the primordial waters of the Late Flood, creating beings who feel but cannot see. And Act III, set in 4040, continues the story with the Mad Sisters Kundle bending at Hirth gRave while The Rad Sisters are trapped in Kennedy Fried Chicken. They absorb the secrets of the human experience as the 1007-year culture war to annihilate the heterovirus rages on the surface of Hirth.

First, Negative Two
June 6 June 8 at 7:30 pm; June 8 at 2:30 pm
Micaela Durand and Daniel Chew, Writers and Directors
Artists Micaela Durand and Daniel Chew present two films, First and Negative Two. The films depict young people as they navigate their lives and relationships from connections they make online. First follows a teenage girl through a day in her life as she negotiates physical and digital interactions with friends and strangers. Negative Two centers on a young gay man who begins an intimate texting exchange with a stranger he may never meet. These stories investigate the nature of desire and the tensions that arise when we attempt to connect with others. Cinematography by Eric Yue; starring Mae Wangmo (First) and Eric Lee (Negative Two). Featuring music by Jean-Michel Blais, Tzusing, Xiu Xiu, Delia Gonzales, and M.E.S.H.

June 13 June 15 at 7:30 pm; June 15 at 2:30 pm
Kelsey Pyro, Composer, Producer, Writer, and Performer
Taking its name from the Ojibwe word for a Black woman or a woman of African descent, Makadewiiyaasikwe is a sound poem that uses original music, film, and storytelling. Kelsey Pyro's theatrical memoir draws from personal loss, historical trauma, and her own cultural traditions in order to bridge connections between Black and First Nations people. By using original electronic scores, live instruments, performance rooted in oral traditions, and film, Makadewiiyaasikwe challenges the eurocentricity of Elisabeth Ku bler-Ross's five stages of grief.

Should I lose you
June 20 June 22 at 5 pm
Richard Sears, Performer and Composer; Clara Cullen, Videographer; Ethan Braun, Composer and Sound Designer; Yael Ginosar, Designer
Should I lose you is a staged piece for video, piano, and electronic music score. The audience can move throughout the space to experience the immersive soundscape, which features a range of samples from composer Sergei Rachmaninov to ambient sounds of children's voices. Richard Sears performs a live improvisational piano solo in response to the visual elements and the electronic music score.

An Episode: Ricky's Room
June 20 June 22 at 7:30 pm; June 22 at 2:30 pm
Yatta Zoker, Writer and Composer (YATTA)
An Episode: Ricky's Room is a performance exploring psychosis in relation to society's pressures towards normalization. The songs, poetry, and dance explore mental illness and psychological splitting as an ongoing reaction to oppressive environments. YATTA will investigate the relationship between psychotic flare-ups and what's not working in our world, with a specific focus towards how capitalism encourages preferential treatment of neurotypical minds and extroversion, as well as suppression of feelings. Who do we become after rebuilding our psyches again and again? This composition will be released in album form via PTP.

June 27 June 29 at 7:30 pm; June 29 at 2:30 pm
Tariq Al-Sabir, Writer and Composer
The multimedia, genre-bending song cycle #Unwanted is written for a unique ensemble that includes voice, woodwinds, brass, percussion, synthesizers, and electronics and video. #Unwanted highlights the ways in which technology reinforces oppressive social relations that deepen gender and racial inequity. Al-Sabir focuses on Black people's experience in the digital realm while engaging topics such as navigating spaces of whiteness, unwelcome DMs, online relationships, the need for weed, and what it means to create and strongly value a virtual community and home.

Buss Demon Choat
July 5 July 6 at 7:30 pm; July 6 at 2:30 pm
Yulan Grant, Creator
The site-specific performance installation Buss Demon Choat incorporates the sounds of dancers performing on a floor equipped with microphones, archival sound, and a live set improvised by the artist. The work investigates non-linear notions of time in the diaspora, where everything is happening simultaneously or in cycles of repetition. Buss Demon Choat explores themes of cultural anxiety and societal distrust and takes inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s remark, I fear I may have integrated my people into a burning house.

Group 2: Level 2 Gallery
June 19 August 25

Haley Anderson
Caitlin Blanchfield and Farzin Lotfi-Jam
Kim Brandt
Maia Chao
Onyedika Chuke
Gabriela Corretjer-Contreras
Avram Finkelstein
Moko Fukuyama
Hugh Hayden
Maryam Hoseini and Phoebe d'Heurle
Tahir Karmali
Sam Lavigne
Asif Mian
Troy Michie
daaPo Reo
Farideh Sakhaeifar
Saint Abdullah and Daniel Cupic
Analisa Teachworth
Christopher Udemezue
Julia Weist
Kiyan Williams

Group 3: The Plaza
(configured when The Shed's movable shell is nested over the base building)
August 9 August 25

Justin Allen
nicHi douglas
Extrapolation Factory
Ebony Noelle Golden
Vicente Hansen/Mat Muntz
Prince Harvey
Madeline Hollander
It's Showtime NYC!
The Illustrious Blacks
Maya Lee-Parritz
Neil Padukone
Saint Abdullah
Harold 'Fy tch' Simmons (Level Up Showcase)
Thanushka Yakupitiyage

Group 4: The Griffin Theater
The Shed will present new work by the following Open Call artists in 2020:

Troy Anthony
Fana Fraser
Ayesha Jordan
Kyle Marshall
Tyler Mitchell
Rachika S
Alice Sheppard and Kinetic Light
Mariana Valencia
Nia O. Witherspoon

More information on Open Call artists and commissions is available here. Tickets to Open Call are free (advance reservations strongly recommended) at and (646) 455-3494.

Open Call is organized by Tamara McCaw, Chief Civic Program Officer, and Emma Enderby, Senior Curator, with Jesse Firestone, Open Call Assistant, Alessandra Gomez, Curatorial and Program Assistant, and Solana Chehtman, Director of Civic Programs.

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