By now, you’ve probably seen or heard about Brooklyn-based artist Deborah Kass’ first monumental sculpture in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s newly renovated Main Street lawn. Commissioned by Two Trees Management Company and presented in partnership with Brooklyn Bridge Park, “OY/YO” will be on view through August 2016 and coincides with “No Kidding,” an exhibition of new works by Deborah Kass opening at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Dec. 9, 2015 – Jan. 23, 2016.
Walking the line between respectful homage and brazen appropriation, Kass mimics and reworks the signature styles of iconic 20th century male artists — including Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Ed Ruscha and Robert Indiana — often with a feminist twist. “OY/YO” is sourced from urban and Brooklyn slang, the statement “I am” in Spanish, and the popular Yiddish expression, as a riff on Ruscha’s iconic word paintings.
“OY/YO” has been a significant and reoccurring motif in Kass’ work since its first appearance in 2011, taking form in paintings, prints and tabletop sculptures. For the Two Trees Public Art commission in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a monumental scaled “OY/YO” is presented in yellow painted aluminum measuring 8-by-17-by-5 feet.
“Just in time for the holidays, three of New York City’s greatest communities come together in peace, love and OY,” said Deborah Kass.
Set alongside the iconic bridges of Brooklyn’s waterfront and visible to viewers from Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Main Street lawn is an apt location for a monumental installation of “OY/YO.” Similar to the City of New York’s “Leaving Brooklyn: Oy Vey!” sign at the Williamsburg Bridge and the “Leaving Brooklyn: Fuhgeddaboudit” sign on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, “OY/YO” references Brooklyn’s ethnic communities with whimsy and warmth.
“Two Trees is thrilled to bring the extraordinary Deborah Kass’ ‘OY/YO’ to DUMBO for residents and visitors here and across the river to enjoy,” said Lisa Kim, Two Trees Management’s Cultural Affairs director. “Art can be found throughout the neighborhood — from gallery exhibits to murals, and ‘OY/YO’ will be a stunning addition to the waterfront.”
“We are thrilled to welcome ‘OY/YO’ to the newest section of Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Regina Myer, Brooklyn Bridge Park president. “Not only will this installation enhance the park experience, but it will also be a wonderful addition to DUMBO’s vibrant art scene. We know that park visitors will enjoy it for the months ahead.”