with Dustin Yellin
Past, Present, and Future Converge in Dustin Yellin’s 10,000-Pound Glass Sculpture at the Liberty Science Center
Drawing inspiration from the systems and networks that connect us to one another, the world around us, and realms we can’t even see, Dustin Yellin (previously) encases detailed narratives between numerous layers of glass. At the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, Yellin’s 10,000-pound The Politics of Eternity explores historical time—past, present, and future—as part of the center’s 30th anniversary Big Art program.
As the founder and director of Pioneer Works, a multidisciplinary center with a mission to build community through the arts and sciences, Yellin is no stranger to exploring ways that art can educate and communicate about important topics. Using paint and clippings from print media, the Brooklyn-based artist creates elaborate, allegorical scenes that tap into viewers’ emotions and consciousness and encourage new ways of thinking about society and its infrastructures. Yellin embraces interdisciplinary approaches and says the Big Art initiative demonstrates the “fundamental belief in the ability of ideas to exist fluidly across different domains, inviting us to consider the different ways in which an understanding of our universe can be expressed and to feel the expanses of our minds.”
In The Politics of Eternity, seven columns are presented in a chevron layout depicting two landmasses on either side of a watery basin. He spent around 20,000 hours—that’s about 834 days!—painstakingly composing tiny details between sheets of laminated glass. One section portrays a fictive community gathered around an ancient totem, followed by a society of the future in which its denizens don jet packs within a “techno-metropolis” that rises up around a rocket ship. From each of these areas, waterfalls feed into a central world full of tall ships, supertankers, rafts, and drones.
Rather than a linear expression of time, a mashup of technologies, climates, and terrain merge seamlessly into one another. By portraying the past, present, and future simultaneously, Yellin prompts viewers to consider the interconnectivity of all time periods and how our actions in the past and today will continue to influence the future.
The Politics of Eternity is on view at the Liberty Science Center for the next year. Explore more work on the artist’s website and Instagram.
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Advanced Technologies Hide Below the Surface in New Three-Dimensional Collages by Dustin Yellin
Brooklyn, New York-based artist Dustin Yellin (previously) preserves three-dimensional photo collages in glass bricks to create what he describes as “frozen cinema.” Some of his more recent works feature landscapes only slightly more dramatic than our own natural and manmade world, often with groups of subjects working together to construct grand machines. Humans unite to build rockets under waterfalls and the sea, while a time machine is secretly constructed underneath a car junkyard. No matter the subject, each work explores our fate within the Anthropocene and the lasting impression we will leave on the Earth. You can see more of his scenes encased in glass on his website and Instagram.
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A Surreal Three-Dimensional World Encased in Layers of Glass by Dustin Yellin
Dustin Yellin’s latest installation (previously here and here) is more of an encased world than environment—ten modular glass blocks that together measure 20 feet long. Densely layered, each glass brick contains thousands of images meticulously sourced from magazines and books, arranged to created Yellin’s own alternate National Geographic universe. The pieces, which differ in dimension at the ends of the work and are uniformly sized near the middle, all contribute to a larger, and perhaps forecasted, story of war and peril. Not a pleasant look at the future of humanity, Yellin outlines scenes of greed and global warming, literally showing the fall of humanity from the tip of a glass-encased mountain to the depths of a turbulent sea.
This installation, titled Ten Parts, is part of a solo exhibition of Yellin’s work by the same name at GRIMM Gallery in Amsterdam which opens this Friday, November 25, and runs through January 7, 2017.
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New Three-Dimensional Figurative Collages Encased in Multiple Layers of Glass by Dustin Yellin
The Brooklyn-based artist Dustin Yellin (previously) was commissioned by the New York City Ballet to install a new series of his figurative collages. The artist refers to the sculptures as Psychogeographies because “they feel like maps of the psyche.”
Each large-scale sculpture is individually embellished with bizarre found objects—cut-up books, magazines and trash found on the street—which are then sealed within layers of glass. “Imagine if you were to make a drawing on a window,” said Yellin, explaining his process. “And then you were to take another window and glue it to that window… until you had a window sandwich. I make window sandwiches.”
The resulting forms resemble dancers striking various poses: their multi-dimensional bodies encapsulated in suspended animation. A grand total of 15 of these “window sandwiches,” each weighing in at 3,000 pounds each, were installed in the atrium of the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. The installation is on view for all performances through March 1, 2015 but there’s also free public viewing through February 22. If you can’t make it you can always follow Yellin’s activities on Instagram.
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Psychogeographies: 3D Collages Encased in Layers of Glass by Dustin Yellin
Psychogeography is the act of exploring an urban environment with an emphasis on curiosity and drifting. Or, more colloquially put, a “toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities.” For the Brooklyn-based artist Dustin Yellin, his toy box is full of everything he finds on the street—flowers, leaves, bugs, and even dead rats, which are then composed into three-dimensional collages and sealed behind resin.
In his most recent series “Psychogeographies,” Yellin uses multiple layers of glass, each covered in detailed imagery, to create a single intricate, three-dimensional collage with a mix of magazine cut-outs and acrylic paint. When pressed to describe what he does, Yellin struggles, but not with a lack of words. Here is an excerpt from a mini-essay “concerning the difficulty of saying something about what I do.”
“Is it a copout to say “the work speaks for itself”?
I feel like it is
But I’m also awful talking about what the work is.
So sometimes I say “it speaks for itself”
But what does that even mean?
However, he does offer some advice:
First and foremost, they’re massive see-through blocks
And that’s one way to read them, listen to them “speaking”
As massive see through blocks.
Another is to listen to what’s inside them
The forms, the clippings, the dead things, the painted things,
Frozen between the layers of glass, what I’ve called
The captured and frozen “dynamism” of culture.
You can follow Dustin Yellin on Facebook or Instagram, or read more about him in this NYT article.
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Editor's Picks: Animation
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.