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The Intercourse—and the triptych—is the creation of artist Dustin Yellin, who bought the 24,000-square-foot brick factory on Pioneer Street in Red Hook a year and a half ago with the intention of turning it into both a large-scale exhibition space and a workspace for artists and scientists. I visit The Intercourse on a clear, cold day. Outside, on Van Brunt Street, striking school bus drivers withstand the cold, and the wind whips pieces of garbage up and down the sidewalk. Inside, the sounds of construction are ever-present. People move up and down the stairs, working together on this enormous project.
Yellin is sitting, rolling a cigarette, and I am standing and we are both positioned under the suspended jaw bone of a sperm whale. It is white and smooth and very long. Yellin tells me, “It’s a challenge, an extreme challenge to make an alternative art space at this scale. I’ve been thinking about it for twenty years now, and it’s had many incarnations, almost infantile incarnations. I don’t know if I ever imagined it would be this scale. It’s very much an interdisciplinary cultural experience of sorts, a residency program for artists and scientists and also the beginnings of a school, so we have lots of classes, lectures, screenings, performances.”