Kass painted her first Oy painting in 2009, and her first Yo in 2010. The two paintings are covers of a painting by Ed Ruscha from 1962 called Oof, currently in the collection of MoMA. For her paintings, Kass appropriated the same hues and font that Ruscha used in his. In 2015, Two Tree Management Art in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn commissioned Kass to create a monumental public sculpture version of OY/YO for the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Standing approximately 96 x 196 inches, the aluminum sculpture spells “YO” when viewers look at is towards Brooklyn, and “OY” when viewers look at it towards Manhattan. Kass has also created other manifestations of this ongoing series.
Artist Biography Deborah Kass (born 1952) is an American artist whose work explores the intersection of pop culture, art history, and the construction of self. Kass is a fan of popular culture and a rigorous student of art history, and considers all of the existing artistic content as useful material from which to draw. She has gotten the most attention for her appropriation of Andy Warhol's signature screenprints. Kass uses the Warhol technique to create empowering, feminist images of females from art history and popular culture. Says Kass, "I use history as a readymade. I use the language of painting to talk about value and meaning. How has art history constructed power and meaning? How has it reflected the culture at large? How does art and the history of art describe power? I have deconstructed those things." Kass' early works were landscape paintings. Her first exhibitions were at Baskerville + Watson in New York, in the 1980s, a gallery that was famous for showing the work of such groundbreaking artists as Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince and Carroll Dunham. These artists had a profound impact on Kass.
Kass has been a Senior Critic in the Yale University M.F.A.Painting Program. Recent museum exhibitions include Deborah Kass, Before and Happily Ever After at The Andy Warhol Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Jewish Museum, New York, The National Portrait Gallery, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Works by Kass are in the permanent collections of MOMA New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Jewish Museum (New York), Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Cincinnati Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museums, the Rubell Collection, Weatherspoon Museum, and many others.