LOVE is in the air.
And on the sidewalk.
And in the park, as Valentine’s Day approaches.
That’s LOVE as in Robert Indiana’s iconic sculpture. The image is the word LOVE in upper-case letters, arranged in a square with a tilted letter “O.” The face of LOVE’s letters are scarlet, set off with vivid shades of blue and green.
Indiana created the image in 1965 when he was commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art to design a Christmas card. The next year Indiana’s sculpture of his LOVE image was featured in a solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery in New York City. That marked a turning point in the pop artist’s career.
Since then, LOVE has been emblazoned on countless prints, paintings, banners, rings, tapestries, and stamps. In 1973, the U.S. Postal Service put LOVE on the first of its regular series of “love stamps.”
LOVE sculptures have been installed in New York and Philadelphia. Additionally, Indiana created similar sculptures in French and Hebrew. They are in accessible locations and are popular photo settings for the romantically-inclined.
Where to visit them:
— New York City: The corner of Sixth Avenue and 55th Street It is on the street, accessible 24/7.
— Philadelphia: JFK Plaza, 1599 John F. Kennedy Boulevard. It is unofficially known as Love Plaza. It was installed there diagonally across from City Hall.
Also in Philadelphia through this coming spring is the AMOR sculpture, which Indiana created in 1998. It is similar to the LOVE sculpture, even the “O” is tilted the same way. The Philadelphia Museum of Art borrowed it to honor Pope Francis when he visited the United States last year. The colorful, six-foot-high sculpture can be visited on the museum’s East Terrace, overlooking the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. That was the site of the public papal mass that culminated the World Meeting of Families 2015. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA. Open Tuesday through Sunday. http://www.philamuseum.org
The AMOR sculpture is owned by The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden, which is on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW. It is on loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art from the Morgan Art Foundation.
Images of the art Indiana created throughout his career can be found online at http://www.robertindiana.com where Indiana had this to say about his LOVE image:
“I had no idea LOVE would catch on the way it did. Oddly enough, I wasn’t thinking at all about anticipating the Love generation and hippies. It was a spiritual concept. It isn’t a sculpture of love any longer. It’s become the very theme of love itself.” — Robert Indiana