New York City Ballet Art Series ::: Dustin Yellin

Every February the New York City Ballet hosts an Art Series where they commission a contemporary artist to create a body of work inspired by their very dancers.

This year, Brooklyn based artist Dustin Yellin was awarded the art partnership and it is undoubtedly the best series yet.

The undeniably beautiful Main Plaza at Lincoln Center.

When I was at Fordham my dorm suite was a few blocks from Lincoln Center on 60th and Columbus Ave. During the beginning of fall semester, when the summer was turning slowly into fall, if you opened your windows to let a cool breeze in, you could hear the opera from Lincoln Center tangled with the air. It was magical.

The plaza is surrounded by three main buildings: Avery Fisher Hall (home of New York  Philharmonic), David H. Kosh Theatre (home of The New York City Ballet) and the Metropolitan Opera House (home of the New York City Opera).

Tonight's entertainment was hosted in David H. Kosh Theatre. 

What makes the NYCB Art Series so special, apart from the art, is that the tickets are sold at a flat rate of $29 on a first come first serve basis.

The way in which the normally high priced art institution welcomes the public into their home with affordable tickets for three nights in a row is what makes New York City such an amazing place to live.

Although New York can be a harsh place to live, at certain points during your relationship with the city it eventually gives back as much as it takes.

This year was particularly special because it marked 80 years since George Balanchine joined the company, a man who made it what it is today.  To honor him, all dances showcased were choreographed by the original founder.

We were elated to catch:

(my personal favorite of the three)
Symphony C

After the performance, we exited the theatre to a DJ already playing a set on one side of the balcony.  The bar counters were lined with rows of Brooklyn Beer, being given away to the outpouring crowd. The perfect companion to walk around the lobby with and admire the work of Dustin Yellin.

For his collaboration with the New York City Ballet, Yellin and a team of artists created fifteen three thousand pound human sculptures, which he calls Psychogeographies. 

Yellin's Psychogeographies are part of a bigger body of work he plans on expanding over the next six years.

Yellin arranges what he calls visual fragments (magazine clippings, paint, artifacts etc.) onto glass slides and layers the slides into three dimensional cubes that make up the human form. What he did exclusively for the NYCB by using the ballet dancers as inspiration, was make the human forms move

Yellin describes the inspiration behind his idea - " work is like the weather - these mundane things that repeat themselves every day, yet affect the way your bones feel, the way that your blood flows - the way that you feel".

Yelin explains to Luke Crisell in Playbill, that he calls them Psychogeographies because -"they feel like they're sort of these maps of our psyche. DNA maps, marked with images found in our collective consciousness that's extrapolated into media - whether that's magazines or books or garbage on the street". 

So in essence, Dustin and his team created bodies trapped inside microscope slides, made up of layers of visuals representing the things in which make up our mass, the consciousness that makes us human.

One of my favorite parts was walking around the sculpture and viewing the cube from the side. Suddenly, all the bodies disappear. Since the visuals are glued or painted onto the surface of the glass you can only see the human form as you approached the front or back of the body, and then from the side you couldn't see anything! It too was magical.

I'm in love with the way the sculptures reflect onto the ground.

Here you can see how, as you approach the sculpture, it begins taking on the human shape. 

My sister and I, still in awe after one hour of exploring the sculptures. 

Any organization that commissions works from contemporary artists and mixes it in with classic art, to welcome a hybrid of an audience from both high and low, has my heart.

The New York City Ballet Art Series is definitely becoming a great family tradition. 

- Stephanie


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