OY/YO

by Joseph McKeown


Brooklyn-based artist Deborah Kass celebrates the diversity of New York City with her colossal sculpture OY/YO. The bright yellow, aluminum letters sit at over eight feet tall and after an earlier stay near Brooklyn Bridge are now at the North 5th Street Pier along the Brooklyn, Williamsburg waterfront. (The letters are even visible from the Empire State Building, which in turn can also be seen through the O!). The “YO” refers to both the Spanish, “I am,” and urban slang, while “OY” is a common Yiddish word to express woe or exasperation. Kass views these terms as equally important, symbolizing the “melting pot” of New York City. The artist tells Artnet: “The thing about this piece is it’s about so many communities coming together, and that’s what I hope people take from it.”