Robert Indiana Love. The work
Robert Indiana’s Love. Created for a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1964, this image has become a symbol of the twentieth century. So much so that it was included on a commemorative eight-cent postage stamp in 1973, issued by the United States Postal Service. This was the first in the “love stamps” series.
Robert Indiana’s Love: the various versions
Indiana developed his own distinctive style using letters on flat backgrounds with hard-edge characteristics, influenced in New York by his friend Ellsworth Kelly. The square arrangement of the word LOVE, in his paintings, sculptures, and various prints starting from 1966, is his distinctive feature. Moreover, other short words like EAT or HOPE have also become part of his repertoire of images.
In every city, big or small, there’s always at least one public artwork, often a sculpture. The most famous version of Love is undoubtedly the sculpture in New York that everyone wants to see at least once in their lifetime. But where is Robert Indiana’s Love in New York? The sculpture is located between 55th and 6th. To be precise: between Sixth Avenue and W 55th Street.
Robert Indiana’s Love: an unusual version
The one that seems the most fun and interesting to me is Chosen Love from 1995: actually a carpet. As mentioned earlier, Indiana developed various sculptural versions, installed in the USA, Europe, and Asia. But the question is: Who doesn’t dream of a declaration like this?!? Not just Love, but Chosen Love, desired and wanted. In the form of a carpet, it becomes a great decorative piece for the home, serving as a constant reminder of the beloved person.
Robert Indiana’s Love: the copyright issue
The issue of the artist’s copyright remains open. Robert Indiana never managed to legally claim the image and, of course, the word as his own. However, there have been numerous combinations and reproductions that have allowed its incredible dissemination worldwide. It has inspired book and music album covers, like Oasis’ “Little by Little.” But it has also inspired simple design objects and colorful furnishings available in museum bookshops or online. My favorite is the black wooden LOVE bookend, stunning!!
Who is Robert Indiana?
Over the past decades, his work has focused on the power of abstraction through language. His attention has been directed towards American identity and personal history. Self-proclaimed as the “American painter of signs,” Indiana gained fame for combining the raw forms of street language with a sophisticated formal and conceptual approach. He transformed this familiar vocabulary into something entirely new.
Thus, Indiana is now considered one of the leading figures of the American Pop Art movement. Thanks, especially, to his participation in the 1962 international collective exhibition hosted by Sidney Janis, which marked the official start of the movement. Famous not only as an artist but also as a costume designer and set designer. And for being the protagonist in Andy Warhol’s 1963 film “Eat.” A single 45-minute shot of Indiana eating a mushroom. Extremely relevant if we think about our current habit of filming ourselves while eating or taking photos of our dishes and posting them on Instagram.