One sculpture, two faces. Deborah Kass’s huge, bold yellow sculpture on the bank in Brooklyn has a statement whichever way you see it.
“Yo, welcome to Brooklyn!” or “Oy, you’re not really thinking of going into Manhattan, are you?”
Commissioned in 2015 by real estate giant Two Trees, the eight-foot-tall aluminum letters went up in November, brightening Brooklyn Bridge Park and overlooking the East River. It’s huge and friendly, and while some call it garish, the community seems to have fallen in love with it to the extent that they want to make it a more permanent part of their borough.
OY/YO is currently scheduled to be temporary, with an expiration date in August 2016. But a petition’s recently been launched by an anonymous party calling for New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio to make the installation a permanent one. OY/YO’s already proven itself to be up to the climate – it stood steadfast and untarnished through snowstorms and the worst of 2015’s record-challenging winter, brightening snow day and rainstorm alike.
Deborah Kass hasn’t yet commented on the petition. The artist designed OY/YO to be a humorous challenge to the stark world of Modern art. It’s based on two of her own paintings, paired works in yellow and blue from 2009 and ’10 that she made to tweak the nose of 1960s Modern artist Ed Ruscha, specifically his painting OOF.
OY/YO’s a selfie goldmine and a potential icon of New York personality. It’s simple, direct, eye-catching and arresting. And it should stay exactly where it is.