The instantly recognizable bright yellow OY/YO sculpture that first took up residence in front of the Brooklyn Museum in 2018 has been partially wrapped in a blue fabric as a show of support for the Ukrainian people. The art piece joins a slew of NYC landmarks that have been lighting up in blue and yellow in solidarity with the cause throughout the week.
In an Instagram post, the Brooklyn Museum explains that the artist behind the work, Deborah Kass, actually joined museum staff to wrap the O portion of the sculpture. The action, the post reveals, is also a nod to the late Bulgarian-born artist Christo, who "famously wrapped cultural monuments and buildings in fabric," including the Gates in Central Park and the Reichstag Building in Germany.
"Kass hailed 'Glory to Ukraine' [during the wrapping event] as she reflected on her grandparents, who were from a small Jewish community near Kyiv," reads the post. "Her activation aligns with her original motivation in creating this sculpture—to connect communities and to see our commonalities."
The idea to slightly modify the monument as a show of support sprung from a community member that actually reached out to the artist herself with the suggestion.
OY/YO has become a permanent fixture in the local public art scene. The installation, which is eight feet tall, first debuted at Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2015. Although it moved to its current location three years later, it wasn't until 2020 that the museum on Eastern Parkway reportedly bought the sculpture.
Although far from where the situation is unfortunately unfolding, New York officials, local companies and organizations have been making their position public by ending all business with Russia and highlighting different ways for New Yorkers to help the people of Ukraine.
Other displays of support include the New York Public Library's decision to release a list of books to help you better understand the history of the Eastern European country and the various shows of solidarity across Little Ukraine, the neighborhood in the East Village.
Here's to hoping we'll soon get past this horrific moment in history.
Installation view, Deborah Kass, OY YO. Courtesy of the artist and The Brooklyn Museum.