David Brooks on Dustin Yellin: ‘He’s a Product of the Highly Distracted Internet Age’


Matthew Cerletty, David Brooks, 2009.


Dustin Yellin’s wacky art practice has been known to the art world for a while. So far, in 2015, he’s shredded $10,000 for a work at this year’s SPRING/BREAK, made twelve 3,000-pound works for the New York City Ballet, and held his second annual pig roast at his arts center, Pioneer Works, in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Today the New York Times’ conservative op-ed columnist David Brooks discovered Yellin, and Brooks likes him quite a bit.

In today’s op-ed, titled “Dustin Yellin’s Modern Community-Building,” Brooks praises the artist for what he’s done with Pioneer Works, a “social sculpture,” as Brooks describes it. “It is not siloed along disciplinary lines like a university,” Brooks writes. “On the contrary, artists, scientists and writers are jammed together, encouraged to borrow one another’s methodologies in pursuit of a project that is both individual and common—finding the hidden order of things.”

More Brooks on Yellin:

Most fascinating about Yellin is his style of community-building. He’s a product of the highly distracted Internet age. During the day he bounces between his studio and the Pioneer Works Center next door, multitasking among sculptures, planning a lecture series or helping edit the magazine. He says he’s a problematic boyfriend because he’s there till midnight. His studio is a physical manifestation of his mental thrill-seeking and pluralistic attention—there are literally thousands of little images of everything under the sun. “I don’t worry about inspiration as much as system overload,” he says.

Also in Broooks’ op-ed are a number of other zany details, like the fact that Yellin was an apprentice to an “eccentric physicist” who experimented on Yellin using hallucinogens. Some of this you just have to read to believe. Read Brooks’ full op-ed on the New York Times’ website.

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