After several months and thousands of selfies since the installation of the monumental OY/YO sculpture at The Weitzman, the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History os excited to welcome the artist and creator back to the Museum for a special program.
Brooklyn-based artist Deborah Kass will sit down with her friend Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation, in the Weitzman’s Dell Theatre. Kass and Collins will discuss the roles of art on the streets, in civic life, and protest- here in Philadelphia and beyond. The duo will also explore how OY/YO and other modern works of art reflect on the values of specific cultures within American society’s larger landscape and the forces that divide and unite our community.
More About OY/YO
Deborah Kass’ larger than life, Lamborghini yellow OY/YO sculpture is hard to miss when approaching 5th and Market streets on Independence Mall, Philadelphia. Standing proud outside the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, the sculpture says “OY,” a Yiddish expression of surprise or dismay commonly used in American Jewish culture. From the reverse perspective, it reads “YO,” representing the ever-popular Philadelphia slang interjection. Alternatively, “YO” is the Spanish pronoun translated to “I” in English. The artist’s inspiration for this work was the dichotomy between America’s promise of equality and the animosity increasing in our country today. OY/YO encapsulates the zeitgeist through a projection of universality.
About Deborah Kass
Deborah Kass is an American mixed-media artist whose work realizes the crossway of pop culture, art history, and identity. She obtained her BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University before joining the Whitney Museum Independent Studies Program and the Art Students League of New York. Kass has executed several solo exhibitions including Deborah Kass: Before and Happily Ever After, a Mid-Career Retrospective, at the Andy Warhol Museum, and My Elvis +, at the Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York. Her work was also featured in Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Many of her pieces can be seen in permanent collections in museums across the country such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the Fogg Museum in Boston, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, the Jewish Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Kass is currently represented by Kavi Gupta Gallery.
About Thom Collins
Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of The Barnes Foundation, is a Philadelphia native with nearly 30 years of experience at some of America’s top arts institutions, including the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM); the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase. NY; the Contemporary in Baltimore; the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati; the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle; and the Museum of Modern Art in NY. Since arriving at the Barnes in 2015, Thom has led the institution to build upon the progressive vision of its founder, Dr. Albert C. Barnes, with programs that share the collection, educate learners of all ages and break down traditional barriers to participation in the arts for diverse audiences.