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OY/YO Sculpture Returns to Brooklyn Waterfront

By Katherine Lavacca | July 14, 2017 12:25pm | Updated on July 17, 2017 7:32am
 Deborah Kass' sculpture greets visitors exiting the water taxi at the North 5th Street Pier.
Deborah Kass' sculpture greets visitors exiting the water taxi at the North 5th Street Pier.
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DNAinfo/Katherine Lavacca

WILLIAMSBURG — Deborah Kass’ 8-foot tall OY/YO sculpture was unveiled Thursday afternoon at the North Fifth Street Pier in Williamsburg, returning to the Brooklyn riverfront for the second time.

Kass, a Brooklyn-based artist, first developed the idea for the OY/YO sculpture through paintings and smaller scale pieces inspired by Picasso's "Yo Picasso" and Edward Ruscha's "OOF". The sculpture was created in 2015 and first displayed in Brooklyn Bridge Park until August 2016.

The bright yellow sculpture is a nod to Brooklyn culture with a shortening of the Spanish phrase for "I am" and the Yiddish expression “oy vey.” Kass said the strength of the piece lies in what people are able to take from it.

“It speaks to so many people, in so many communities at the same time,” said Kass. “That’s its value and that’s why people like it so much. They see themselves and feel like it’s speaking to them, knowing full well it’s speaking to many other people.”

Diana Reyna the Deputy Brooklyn Borough President said the installation of OY/YO was a celebration of local artists.

"This could not have been possible with out the great work of talented artists like Deborah," said Reyna.

Douglaston Development partnered with the New York City Parks department to install the sculpture at the waterfront park they helped create.

“I’m very excited about the evolution of Williamsburg, particularly this waterfront area, and having this sculpture in this part of Brooklyn means a lot to me and our company,” said Jeff Levine, the chairman of Douglaston Development.