The Shed is a gem amid Hudson Yards that defines horrendous city planning. The Sheds programming continues to push the envelope, be it theater, music, art, or events. We went to the opening of Open Call this past weekend.
Open Call features work from emerging NY artists who have come from across the globe. This year, the works chosen are personal responses to the issues of our time. It is an outstanding exhibit, small and powerful.
This piece, and there were a few of them, is by Bryan Fernandez, a 23-year-old artist. His work is tied to his family history of community and cultural practices from the Dominican Republic. Each piece maps his connection to the community that has migrated to the Northeast in suburban Yonkers and Lawrence, Massachusetts—an incredibly talented young man.
This incredible chandelier is from Jeffrey Meris. The shutdown of COVID pushed Meris to look for a sanctuary he found through gardening. The piece references other pieces of his life, from anti-Blackness to queerphobia.
This particular piece is called The Nine Demands by Luis Guttlerrez. It is a reminder of a story that I did not know, another part of history swept under the carpet. In 1928, the Chiquita Banana company gathered its employees in the square of Cienga Columbia to address their desire to unionize. They were confronted by the Columbian military and killed. These pieces represent the workers’ nine demands brought to the company’s attention. This violence continues to be used by American companies to keep supermarket shelves stocked with food at the expense of cheap labor.
There are other pieces at the installation that are worth seeing and reading about. One particular is a short movie about Weeksville, a historically African-American neighborhood founded by the freed slaves of the 19th century. It’s worth seeing this show.