Checking Out The Intercourse, Dustin Yellin’s Massive New Art Center in Red Hook

Saturday afternoon collage artist Dustin Yellin launched his new art center and studio complex, The Intercourse, in a giant Civil War-era warehouse he bought in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood just a year ago. “We finally settled on ‘Intercourse’ because it best describes the mix of activities that will be going on here,” Yellin told ARTINFO of the long-delayed name choice, adding cheekily: “Plus we want to reclaim that word.”

The event on Saturday, part exhibition preview and part backyard BBQ — albeit a block-sized backyard with stunning Financial District views — drew a mix of young Brooklyn artists, an older set car serviced in from Manhattan, and locals who wandered in off the street. The occasion for the soft launch was an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by Adam Green, who capped the afternoon with a musical performance.

Despite the very casual air of the event, there was also brisk business going on, the relatively open guest list including a number of collectors. Just half an hour into the opening for Green’s exhibition, which continues through June 17, one of the many clipboard-toting gallery attendants noted that three of the works (the 44 pieces were priced between $200 and $3,600) had already been sold.

The exhibition, titled “Cartoon and Complaint,” featured many expressionistic paintings and pastel drawings featuring iconic characters from children’s cartoons and TV shows engaged in more or less depraved activities. The works evoked a strange blend of Peter Saul‘s grotesque imagery and Joyce Pensato‘s drippy, rough renderings of animated characters. One particularly memorable piece, “Flying Rug Ride” (2011), showed Aladdin and Jasmin from the Disney movie “Aladdin” zipping away from the flaming World Trade Center towers on a flying carpet. One of a pair of sculptures seemed to be a very DIY, paper maché riff on Damien Hirst‘s “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” and was simply titled “Dolphin” (2011, see below).

The large and varied body of Green’s work showcased the versatility of the space, which also features two vast mezzanines for studios, administrative offices, a recording studio, and labs — Yellin’s studio is on the ground floor, in a space that runs parallel to the main gallery. “We’re really working on everything at once,” Yellin said, “so that we can have artists, musicians, scientists, performers all in here working together.” Hence the new space’s moniker, which is also the name of a magazine Yellin launched — as if he weren’t already sufficiently busy with one Intercourse.

— Benjamin Sutton