New art for New York

About Open Call

Launched as part of The Shed’s inaugural-year program, Open Call is a large-scale commissioning program for early-career, NYC-based artists. For its third edition, 18 proposals out of more than 1,200 total submissions by artists and collectives were chosen by interdisciplinary leaders and professionals in their fields, including other artists and members of The Shed’s staff, to present work in an exhibition in fall 2023 and a performance series in summer 2024. Selected artists receive a commissioning fee of up to $15,000 depending on the scope of their projects, robust production support, and resources to further nurture their practices and expand their audiences.

The artists presenting in 2023 and 2024 create work in disciplines from drag performance and sculpture to filmmaking and poetry, each proposing care- and community-based responses to the urgent issues of our time. On view November 4, 2023, to January 21, 2024, an exhibition presented 10 artworks by artists who bring personal stories intersecting with global history to the Level 2 Gallery. Artists presented in the exhibition included Minne Atairu, Jake Brush, Cathy Linh Che & Christopher Radcliff, Armando Guadalupe Cortés, Lizania Cruz, Bryan Fernandez, Luis A. Gutierrez, Jeffrey Meris, Calli Roche, and Sandy Williams IV. In summer 2024, in The Shed’s Griffin Theater, the remaining eight commissions will feature immersive, multidisciplinary performances. Artists presenting performances include Kyle Dacuyan, The Dragon Sisters, Kayla Hamilton, Nile Harris, NIC Kay, Asia Stewart, Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre, and Garrett Zuercher.

Admission is free to all Open Call events.

Read about the artists who will present in 2024, and learn more about past Open Call commissions below.

The 2023 – 24 Open Call artists. Standing, left to right: Kayla Hamilton, Bryan Fernandez, Christopher Radcliff, Calli Roche, Garrett Zuercher, Armando Guadalupe Cortés, Jake Brush. Seated, left to right: Kyle Dacuyan, Lizania Cruz, Asia Stewart, Luis A. Gutierrez, Minne Atairu, Sandy Williams IV, Jeffrey Meris. Not pictured: Cathy Linh Che, The Dragon Sisters, Nile Harris, NIC Kay, Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre. Photo: Dana Golan.
A group photo of the 2023 and 2024 Open Call artists. The artists are arranged class photo style in two rows, with one row in the back standing and the other seated in front.
The 2023 – 24 Open Call artists. Standing, left to right: Kayla Hamilton, Bryan Fernandez, Christopher Radcliff, Calli Roche, Garrett Zuercher, Armando Guadalupe Cortés, Jake Brush. Seated, left to right: Kyle Dacuyan, Lizania Cruz, Asia Stewart, Luis A. Gutierrez, Minne Atairu, Sandy Williams IV, Jeffrey Meris. Not pictured: Cathy Linh Che, The Dragon Sisters, Nile Harris, NIC Kay, Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre. Photo: Dana Golan.

2023 – 24 Artists

About the Commissions

Performing Artists (presenting summer 2024)

Kyle Dacuyan: Dad Rock
An episodic monologue with movement, video, and music contemplating the relationships between information, media, surveillance, and remote violence

The Dragon Sisters: New Information
An equal parts concert, immersive theater, and dance party including original music, live instrumentation, dance performance, and visual art

Kayla Hamilton: How to Bend Down/How to Pick it Up
An immersive, multidisciplinary installation and performance exploring the growth, use, and medicalization of cotton as a historical thread between Blackness and disability

Nile Harris: Minor b
A choreographed performance for four bodies

NIC Kay: Must have character
A duet between a mascot and a drag performer exploring impulse and desire

Asia Stewart: Fabric Softener
An interdisciplinary performance that combines song, movement, and painting to meditate on intergenerational trauma and the perverse inheritance(s) passed down by Black m/others

Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre: Gathering: New York City
An interactive site-based work—part staged work, part improvisational score—that asks why and how we gather, and when we choose to act alone or as a group, utilizing technology, storytelling, sound design, and play to examine what brings people together in celebration, conflict, protest, and sport

Garrett Zuercher: Inside/Look
A narrative piece created entirely within the Deaf community that provides an authentic, firsthand glimpse into the lives and work of Deaf artists, opening a rare window onto the incredibly diverse prism of Deaf identity and the unique challenges Deaf folks face

Visual Artists (presented fall 2023)

Minne Atairu: To the Hand
A sculptural installation that uses artificial intelligence to imagine an Afrofuturism inspired by the oral tradition and material culture of Benin

Jake Brush: Petpourri
A video installation that creates an absurdist reboot of Long Island pet store owner Marc Morrone’s public access television show

Cathy Linh Che & Christopher Radcliff: Appocalips
A three-channel video installation based on the real-life experiences of Cathy Linh Che’s parents, Vietnam War refugees, who in 1976, while stateless in a refugee camp in the Philippines, were hired to play extras in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now

Armando Guadalupe Cortés: Palenque
A structure in the form of a palenque, a round cockfighting ring. The skeletal and ghostly architectural support for a seating arena for violent sport creates a space in which spectacle is both expected and denied.

Lizania Cruz: Evidence 071: Frederick Douglass and The Commission of Inquiry
A multimedia installation, based on Cruz’s research in the Dominican Republic, that explores the role of US imperialism and asks audiences to consider their relation to ongoing processes of colonization

Bryan Fernandez: Who I am, Quiénes Somos
A series of mixed-media assemblages exploring the Dominican diaspora across the Northeast United States and the Dominican Republic that examines how identity and material culture find ways to reimagine belonging within immigrant communities

Luis A. Gutierrez: Las Nueve Demandas (The Nine Demands)
A series of monumental paintings that draw from historical archives, specifically those related to the December 1928 Masacre de las bananeras, a mass killing of banana plantation workers executed by the Colombian Army in response to a strike after the United Fruit Company failed to meet the workers’ demands for fair wages and humane labor conditions in November of the same year

Calli Roche: Death to Dermis: Ecdysis
A metaphorical shucking of the body, searching for the core. Each work uses various pattern-making and sculpture techniques to peel layers of the self in an effort to dissect the various psychic and physiological components that constitute the self.

Jeffrey Meris: Catch a Stick of Fire III (Dark Man X)
A horticultural sculpture supporting orchids that was conceived during Meris’s Self-Care Saturdays, a personal ritual that provided psychological sanctuary over the past year’s dual crises of continued violence against Black individuals and the global pandemic

Sandy Williams IV: 40 ACRES: Weeksville
A multilayered public performance that took place in the sky above the remaining fragments of Weeksville, Brooklyn, a historical African American neighborhood founded by freed, formerly enslaved people in the 19th century

Open Call Merch

Show your support for new art for New York with a limited edition, adjustable Open Call cap.
A model wears an Open Call baseball cap. The cap is a light blue, like a periwinkle denim. Across the front of the cap is embroidered in white letters: New art for New York. Behind the model are rows of books softly out of focus and facing outward along a wooden wall.

About the selection process

A group of 67 interdisciplinary reviewers and panelists—from the visual arts and music to theater, dance, and performance—came together to review proposals in March and June 2022.

Artists (By Year Selected)

2022 (presenting in 2023 and 2024)
Minne Atairu
Jake Brush
Cathy Linh Che & Christopher Radcliff
Armando Guadalupe Cortés
Lizania Cruz
Kyle Dacuyan
The Dragon Sisters
Bryan Fernandez
Luis A. Gutierrez
Kayla Hamilton
Nile Harris
Jeffrey Meris
Calli Roche
Asia Stewart
Sandy Williams IV
Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre
Garrett Zuercher
In The Works
Meet past artists
In The Works
Learn more about past commissions

almost 3 years ago

Being Seen: An Interview with Leslie Cuyjet
I became aware of Leslie Cuyjet well before we actually met, and possibly before I even first saw her dance. As Black dancers within New York City’s mostly white experimental dance scene over the last decade or so, “which so often found her cast as a black dot on a white stage” (as reads the description of Leslie’s new choreographic work Blur), we’ve both experienced discomfort and attenuated feelings within the unspoken racial dynamics of casting and creative processes. When those “black dots”—on stage, and across studios and theater lobbies—are few and far between, it’s easy to spot each other in advance.

almost 3 years ago

Between Artists: Emilie Gossiaux and DonChristian Jones
The world’s monuments often tower over us, imposing a sense of hierarchy that values their impact or ideology over the interpersonal scale of our lives. Artists Emilie Gossiaux and DonChristian Jones—who are preparing new artworks in sculpture and music performance, respectively, for OPEN CALL, and met online to talk about their progress in late March—imagine a different expression of monumentality rooted in the intimate relationships that they’ve grown from in their lives.

Program Credits

The third edition of Open Call is organized by Tamara McCaw, Senior Advisor and former Chief Civic Program Officer; Darren Biggart, Director of Civic Programs; Dejá Belardo, Assistant Curator, Visual Arts and Civic Programs; and Daisy Peele, Associate Producer.

The program was conceived by The Shed’s Artistic Director Alex Poots; Tamara McCaw, Senior Advisor and former Chief Civic Program Officer; Emma Enderby, former Chief Curator; and Senior Program Advisor Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Special thanks to former program team colleagues who facilitated the third edition’s call for proposals and selection process: Solana Chehtman, Sarah Khalid Dhobhany, Alessandra Gómez, and Andria Hickey.

Thank you to our partners

The Sponsor of Open Call is
Support for Open Call is generously provided by

Additional support for Open Call is provided by The Wescustogo Foundation and Jody and John Arnhold | Arnhold Foundation.

The creation of new work at The Shed is generously supported by the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Commissioning Fund and the Shed Commissioners. Major support for live productions at The Shed is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund, with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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