The "oy" came first for artist Deborah Kass. "It came from a painting I did a few years ago that said 'oy.'" she said. Kass only discovered the "yo" when she transformed her 2D painting into a 3D sculpture, now installed beneath the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
"It was simply a matter of how can you not say, 'Yo, Brooklyn'?" Kass said. "Which left 'Oy, Manhattan.'"
Brooklyn Bridge Park's latest art installment is a large, yellow, two-letter word, sitting atop a waterfront berm, visible from both Manhattan and Brooklyn. When facing Brooklyn, the letters read "yo." When facing Manhattan, they spell "oy."
"Usually," Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer said, "art is in a museum where it's a very viewer-and-art experience. Here, there's a lot more interaction."
Oy-Yo's artist would like that interaction not to include climbing or sitting on her monument.
"God, I hope not," she said. "But I think it's inevitable."
An exclamation of grief, a friendly salutation and soon -- once the lawn opens -- a two-letter jungle gym for park-goers, Oy-Yo will remain on display through August 2016.
"It was inspired by the painting called 'Oof' at MOMA," Kass said.