Last night the Lower East Side gallery The Hole hosted a silent auction benefiting artist Dustin Yellin’s sprawling art center in Brooklyn’s low-lying Red Hook neighborhood, The Intercourse, which was badly damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy. Supporters turned out to donate to Renegade Sandy Relief (RSR), an artist-led group that has been working in some of the neighborhoods most severely affected by the storm, and bid on works donated by Matt Stone, Jesse Edwards, Sandy Kim, André Saraiva, and more.
Much like his studio across Imlay Street in Red Hook, Yellin’s exhibition space, residency program, and proxy community center for the neighborhood’s artists in a block-long Civil War-era warehouse had to be gutted after Sandy’s passage. “It’s a cosmic colonic,” Yellin told ARTINFO on his way into Matthew Stone’s new installation at the gallery, a series laser-cut photographs in a darkened room crisscrossed with colorful moving lights. “Nature took it away and now we just have to rebuild bigger, better, and faster.”
The Intercourse, which opened in the spring following a lightning-fast one-year renovation, houses not only a vast ground floor gallery, but also an outdoor sculpture garden, several artists’ studios — including, until the storm, a growing proportion of Yellin’s own studio — a residency through the non-profit Recess, and spaces for classes and performances. Adam Green, whose solo show “Cartoon and Complaint” inaugurated the Intercourse in June, recently had a one-man exhibition at The Hole, and earlier in the summer Yellin participated in the collaborative portrait project “Portrait of a Generation” at Kathy Grayson’s Bowery space, so the venue seemed a logical fit for the benefit auction.
Works available ranged from starting bids of $100 — for Saraiva’s cocky currency print “In Pussy We Trust” (2012, below) — to several thousand dollars, like for a startling photograph of a solitary cloud floating above the New York skyline, “UFO” (2012). At 9pm — the auction went from 6-11pm — many of the works had only received an opening bid, but interested parties were keeping a close watch. Yellin, for his part, remained enthusiastic despite his obvious preoccupation with the enormous cleanup and reconstruction job ahead. “It’s great!,” he beamed, “but it’s also fucked.”
— Benjamin Sutton