Deborah Kass’ OY/YO, Ed Ruscha’s Art for Paul McCartney

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Deborah Kass 1952 –

On July 4th, one of Deborah KassOY/YO sculptures was unveiled outside the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History on Independence Mall in Philadelphia. The OY/YO sculpture has already been added as a stop on Philadelphia tour buses.

OY/YO began as a painting. Its message resonated across language and cultures, and Kass turned it into a sculpture.

It’s especially appropriate in Philadelphia, where YO is a Philly greeting, popularized by Sylvester Stallone’s “YO, Adrian” in his Rocky movie.

The sculpture in Philadelphia is one of three large OY/YO sculptures, measuring 8 feet tall, 16 feet wide, and 5 feet deep. It’s made of aluminum and painted Lamborghini yellow.

One was installed outside Stanford University’s Cantor Art Center in 2019.  Another is outside the Brooklyn Museum and has recently been wrapped in blue, to show support for the people of Ukraine, whose colors are yellow and blue.

“I created OY/YO thinking about the American promise of equality and fairness and our responsibilities to make the country a better place for all,” said Kass. “With hate and division now on the rise, it is urgent to see our commonalities, what we share, and what brings us together.”

Deborah Kass lives and works in Brooklyn. Her works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the Jewish Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, the National Portrait Gallery the Smithsonian Institution, the Fogg Museum at Harvard and other major venues.

Ed Ruscha 1937 –

I like the idea of a word becoming a picture, almost leaving its body, then coming back and becoming a word again. – Ed Ruscha

Deborah Kass said that Ed Ruscha’s painting OOF was the inspiration for OY/YO.

Ed Ruscha was born in Nebraska, raised in Oklahoma City and traveled to Los Angeles in 1956 to study art the California Institute of the Arts.

His use of words as visual content in his work has become his signature style.

His first major retrospective was held in 1982 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. For the exhibition catalogue cover, he chose a drawing made in 1979, which features the words “I don’t want no retro spective”. Ruscha’s work became popular with Japanese collectors entering the contemporary art market in the late 1980s, suddenly driving up demand for his work. He later joked that he had become a “twenty-five year overnight sensation.”

One of his recent projects, at age 84, is the artwork for new box set of 80-year-old Paul McCartney. According to McCartney, the men have shared a friendship and mutual admiration. “I first met Ed Ruscha through my daughter, Stella,” McCartney wrote, “and since then have visited his studio quite a few times. He is a very easy going, humorous guy and ‘of course’ a very skillful painter. His treatments are ingenious and intriguing. Nancy asked Ed to paint a picture for my birthday which uses the phrase ‘For Life’ which is taken from the song ‘My Valentine’, which I wrote for her. It is a beautiful picture with the text in his usual deadpan signature style. The lettering font he uses reminds me of art classes I used to take as a teenager in the Liverpool Institute where we learned to write the alphabet in this style and I enjoyed it so much I even offered to do the lettering on one piece of George’s homework!”

The boxed set is scheduled for release on August 5, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Deborah Kass and Ed Ruscha available at VFA.


References:
Tom Gralish. Scene Through the Lens | July 4, 2022. The Philadelphia Inquirer. July 4, 2022.
Danya Henninger. 10 things to know about the new OY/YO sculpture outside Philly’s Jewish museum. BillyPenn Newsletter. April 28, 2022.
Alison Fox. This Museum of American Jewish History Just Reopened in Philadelphia After 2 Years — Here’s What’s New. Travel and Leisure. June 12, 2022.
Anna Rahnanan. The Brooklyn Museum’s ‘OY/YO’ sculpture is now wrapped in blue. TimeOut. March 4, 2022.
Paul McCartney. Paintings On The Wall – Ed Ruscha/A PS from PM. March 14, 2019.
Bass Magazine. Paul McCartney Releases Boxed Set With His Three Iconic Solo Albums. June 17, 2022.

Recent Acquisitions at VFA

Here’s a quick look at some of the recent additions we’ve added to the VFA gallery:

Jean-Michel Basquiat – Ligaments of the Elbow

Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1960-88

Jean-Michel Basquiat was 27-years-old when he died of a heroin overdose on August 12, 1988 in studio on Great Jones Street in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood.

Many of Basquiat’s most powerful works were done just before his untimely death, including a 6 x 11 foot painting title Victor 25448, which is expected to garner over $10 million at Phillips Contemporary auction this month.

Ligaments of the Elbow, available at VFA, is part of the Anatomy Series that Basquiat began to work on after  his first solo show in New York, when gallery owner Annina Nosei gave him a studio in the basement of the gallery. It was there that Basquiat began to produce drawings of the anatomical forms that recur in his works.

Basquiat’s fascination with the human form began when he was seven and his mother gave him a copy of Grey’s Anatomy while he was recovering after being hit by a car.

His interest in social justice and Black history, as well as anatomy, can be seen in all of his work, like Wolf Sausage, King Brand, Dog Leg Study and Undiscovered Genius and Boxer Rebellionlimited edition screenprints, available at VFA.

Deborah Kass – OY/YO

Deborah KassOY/YO work continues to resonate with the public. BK Reader editor, C. Zawadi Morris, described the work’s appeal: “The art’s universality has the unique ability to speak across generations, cultures and ethnicities,” she wrote, “holding very simple yet profound meanings within Spanish-speaking, Jewish and Black American communities. It is a call to action, an expression and an acknowledgement of self.”

In addition to two Oy/Yo sculptures in our gallery, we can now offer a limited edition silkscreen with flocking of Oy/Yo.

Jonas Wood

Jonas Wood and Shio Kusaka.
Photo: University of Washington, School of Art

Many of the paintings of Jonas Wood are enormous and have exceeded the $1 million mark at recent auctions. For those of us who are more interested in fine art prints, Wood not only works with master printmakers, but has a print shop in his Culver City studio because, he says, that he’s “…pretty heavy into printmaking.”

In addition to his recent works, we also have a complete set of four lithographs done in 2014.

Richard Anuszkiewicz – Etchings

Richard Anuszkiewicz, May 23, 1930 – May 19, 2020.

Op Art pioneer, Richard Anuszkiewicz, died in his home in Englewood, New Jersey on May 19, 2020. He was 89.

His focus was on the interactions between  form and and color. “I’m interested in making something romantic out of a very, very mechanistic geometry,” he said.

The etchings he did in 1979, now available at VFA, are wonderful examples of his work that has remained timeless.

More Recent Acquisitions….

We’ve also added works by David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Beverly Fishman, Yoshito Nara, and Red Grooms.

Please contact us if you would like more information about any of the work available at VFA.


References:
Sarah Osei. One of Basquiat’s Largest Works Expected to Fetch $10 Million at Auction. Highsnobiety. June 26, 2020.
C. Zawadi Morris. Yo! Brooklyn Artist Deborah Kass Has Something to Say! BK Reader. October 15, 2018.
Jessie Carbutt. Yoshitomo Nara: Beyond the Big-Headed Girls. Metropolis. June 23, 2020.
Loney Abrams. Interview: Jonas Wood on His New Monograph and Limited-Edition Print. Artspace. November 21, 2019.
Jillian Steinhauer. Richard Anuszkiewicz, Whose Op Art Caught Eyes in the ’60s, Dies at 89. The New York Times. May 25, 2020.

An Orange Hat

We would like to express our gratitude, during this difficult time, for the continued support of family, friends and art lovers.

Vertu Fine Art will continue to offer the best fine art prints, paintings and sculpture available. We are happy to answer questions and communicate on line and by phone.

It was just last month that we were at the Art on Paper Fair in New York City, where we showcased the works of Alex Katz, the consummate New Yorker. The Whitney has been planning a retrospective of Katz’s work for 2022. Hopefully, the exhibit, to honor one of the world’s most outstanding contemporary artists, will take place as scheduled.

One of the most visited sites in New York has been the giant OY YO sculpture by Deborah Kass. We have a limited edition of this sculpture available, whose message is very relevant during this trying time.

We at VFA, hope you stay safe and healthy, and find comfort and joy in the art and beauty that surrounds you.

Summer at VFA: Featured Artists

We’re getting ready to travel up to the Market Art + Design Show at the Bridgehampton Museum in upstate New York and wanted to give you a little preview of a few of the artists whose work we’ll be featuring at the show and in the VFA Gallery.

Mel Bochner: Top Dog

In a world where there’s so much information coming at us, Mel Bochner uses language and humor to engage viewers. A master printmaker, Bochner brings texture and rich color to each of his prints.

“As an artist I like to delve into those things, like using etching, as it’s never been used before.” Bochner said in interview with Tulsa Public Radio. He says that some of his silkscreens “have a hundred different colors to make it look like one color. Even if the viewer can’t know that there are a hundred screens in that, there’s a quality to that blue that you can’t get anywhere else. There’s a uniqueness. I think anyone who really gets engaged in this thing called printmaking wants to explore all those possibilities.”

The texture in Bochner’s monoprint, Top Dog, available at VFA, comes from his use of specially handmade paper, engraving, collage and embossing.

Deborah Kass: OY YO 

In 2015, Deborah Kass’ 18 feet tall by 17 feet long aluminum OY YO sculpture was placed on the waterfront in New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park. It read OY if you were viewing it from Brooklyn and YO if you were seeing it from Manhattan. OY YO became an instant icon after it appeared on the front page of the New York Times, and became a tourist destination, and a background for wedding photos, graduation and class photos and many, many selfies.

Much of Kass’ work is about power in art and society and she often reworks the art of 20th century  iconic male artists. Kass first created OY as a painting, after Ed Ruscha’s OOF panting and then did YO as a nod to Yo Picasso, the self-portrait Picasso did in 1901.

OY YO is currently installed in front of the Brooklyn Museum. A smaller, more manageable version of OY YO is available at VFA.

Ugo Rondinone: Untitled

Ugo Rondinone likes to work large. He creates temporary, monumental sculptures that resemble totems. Rather than fitting in with their surroundings, Rondinone’s works clash with their surroundings, like Human Nature, on display in Rockefeller Center in 2013.

Rondinone lives and works in New York. He was born in Switzerland, of Italian parents, in 1964. Like his sculptures, Rondinone’s paintings and prints are large, with brightly colored concentric circles or black and white gnarled trees.

Untitled silkscreen, available at VFA, is a large five-foot square silkscreen, that uses the wild and wonderful trademark Rondinone colors.

Alex Katz: Coca-Cola Girl

It’s been wonderful to watch Alex Katz age gracefully – both physically and artistically. He’s going to turn 92 in a few weeks and his work is as sleek and elegant as ever.

His recent Homage to Degas series of paintings and sculptures, and his simple landscapes are masterful works that showcase Katz’s refinement of his signature style. Coca-Cola Girl, available at VFA is another example of Katz’s ability to fine-tune his art.

KAWS: Ankle Bracelet

KAWS giant Companion sculpture will be relaxing at the Fujinomiya’s Fumotoppara Camping Ground this summer, giving campers a spectacular view of both the sculpture and Mount Fuji.

Kaws: Holiday at Mt Fuji will be on exhibit for just a week from July 18 to 24. Companion has already been to Seoul, Taipei and Hong Kong. If you can’t make it to Mt. Fuji,  you can view Companion, and other work by KAWS in our gallery.

Please give us a call if you would like more information about the works at VFA. Or make Vertu Fine Art part of your summer itinerary and stop by for a visit.

 

 

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