8 x 17 x 5 ft
Deborah Kass's first monumental sculpture presents her recurring OY/YO motif as a brash statement at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Walking the line between respectful homage and brazen appropriation, Brooklyn-based artist Deborah Kass mimics and reworks the signature styles of iconic 20th century male artists—including Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, 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, and as a riff on Ed Ruscha’s iconic word painting OOF that is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
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 will be presented in yellow painted aluminum measuring 8 x 17 x 5 ft.
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 BQE, OY/YO references Brooklyn’s ethnic communities with whimsy and warmth.
Deborah Kass employs the visual motifs of post-war paintings to explore the intersection of politics, popular culture, art history and personal identity. Her celebrated series, The Warhol Project, from the early 1990’s refocused Andy Warhol’s eye for celebrity portraiture. Her work incorporates lyrics from Broadway musicals, movie quotations into canonical formats like Frank Stella’s concentric squares, Ellsworth Kelly’s rainbow spectrum and Andy Warhol’s camouflage patterns.
Kass’ work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Jewish Museum and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The New Orleans Museum of Art, and the National Portrait Gallery, among others.
In 2014, Kass was inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts’ Hall of Fame. She is a member of the Board of the Andy Warhol Foundation and is Senior Critic of the Yale University MFA Painting Program.