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Let's Determine Once and For All Whether This Brooklyn Sculpture Says 'Yo' or 'Oy'

Illustration for article titled Lets Determine Once and For All Whether This Brooklyn Sculpture Says Yo or Oy

There’s a new sculpture at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, hollering “YO.” Or is it hollering “OY”? Hm.


The New York Times reports on the installation, which is the work of an artist named Deborah Kass and in fact called “OY/YO.”

“The fact that this particular work resonates so beautifully in so many languages to so many communities is why I wanted to make it monumental,” Ms. Kass said.

Ms. Kass said she first created “OY” as a painting in 2011, as a homage or spoof of Edward Ruscha’s 1962 painting “OOF.”

The work also took shape in prints and sculptures — the “YO” was added as a separate painting at a friend’s suggestion — before eventually finding its way to its current larger-than-life dimensions.


She would not, however, explain it: “It’s an open-ended question that people need to answer for themselves.” Which I suppose is why she went with the context-dependent interjections, as opposed to the traditional five-boroughs greeting of a raised middle finger.

So: yo, or oy? Please show your work.

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Photos by Joanna Rothkopf.

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Kat Marlowe

I think it’s blue and black.