A little over a year ago, the artist Robert Indiana passed away in Vinalhaven, Maine (where one of the remaining original eagles of Penn Station is located). Though predominantly known for his iconic LOVE sculptures around the world, Robert Indiana was a prolific artist and sculptor whose work spanned mediums and decades.
As we reported in May, Robert Indiana’s work has been collected together in an exclusive exhibition on the rooftop of the Kasmin Gallery in Chelsea, which can conveniently be seen while strolling the High Line, with additional paintings by Indiana inside the gallery. In addition, the artist’s work has been a part of New York City since the 1960s and many of his sculptures can still be found throughout the city. Here is a list of where to find some of Indiana’s most beloved works:
1. New York’s LOVE Statue
Located on the corner of 55th and 6th Avenue is debatably Indiana’s most famous work: the LOVE statue (formally known as “love red blue.” This piece has been a hotspot for tourists and New Yorkers, alike. You can often find a line of people waiting for pictures with the beloved sculpture. The work is an evolution of a two-dimensional work Indiana created for The Museum of Modern Art‘s Christmas card in 1964. The first LOVE sculpture was created in 1970, and is now located in the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
In a letter to art collector Larry Aldrich, Indiana explained the religious origin of the LOVE design, having been brought up in a Christian Science household: “The LOVE paintings sprang like a crop from that seed planted at your museum, Larry. The painting you commissioned, Love is God, which burst into mind when I learned that you were converting an old Christian Science Church in Ridgefield . . . for I, as a child, was raised as a Christian Scientist, and the word LOVE was indelibly imprinted in the mind, for there is that slightly different phrase, ‘God is Love,’ on every front wall of every one of Mary Baker Eddy’s houses throughout the world.”
Although the statue is immensely popular, it has just been removed for necessary cleaning with no anticipated return date. Although not the only LOVE statue in the world, this piece has been a part of New York history for years. Now, New Yorkers must await word for when the beloved sculpture will bring back the love to New York City!
2. Bringing HOPE to New York
With the LOVE statue away for cleaning, Indiana’s HOPE statue is helping keep the love alive in New York City by attracting tourists and New Yorkers to journey only a few blocks from the LOVE sculptures location. Located at 53rd and 7th Avenue, this art installation is another take on Indiana’s classic design.
The piece was moved to this location in 2014 in time for International Hope Day. It is estimated to cost nearly $3 million and is a whopping 13-feet tall. However, for many New Yorkers, Robert Indiana’s works are priceless because of the joy they bring to many passersby.
3. Robert Indiana at Kasmin
The Kasmin on 27th Street in Chelsea opened a new exhibit in May highlighting the extensive work of Robert Indiana. Many of of his prints and sculptures are featured in indoor and outdoor exhibits which highlight the diversity of New York, itself. Pictured here are three of Indiana’s most recognizable works, the LOVE statues, which feature love spelled in English, Spanish and Modern Hebrew to highlight three of New York’s most prominent cultural identities.
4. Robert Indiana at the MoMA and the Whitney
Robert Indiana, The Electric EAT, 1964/2007, as installed in Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Photograph by Ron Amstutz
The Whitney Museum of Art in the Meatpacking District has a collection of nine of Robert Indiana works. The pieces in their collection include a model of his beloved LOVE statues, sculpture and drawings. Although their are nine pieces in the Whitney’s collection, only one of them is currently being displayed: The Electric EAT is a sculpture made of polychrome aluminum, stainless steel, and light bulbs. The piece was created in 1964 by Indiana and displays the word “eat” in lightbulbs. It is available for viewing on the museum’s first floor cafe.
In addition, Robert Indiana’s works—both sculptures and paintings—have been featured in over 35 Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) collections since his first debut in 1961. In fact, Indiana’s first big break came when the MoMA featured his art in a 1961 exhibit “Art of Assemblage.” Often these collections relate to contemporary art its effects on society.
Indiana’s works are not currently on display at the MoMA, but his works have reappeared frequently in the almost 60 years since his debut. The most recent feature he received was in 2015 with the “Take an Object” collection, which featured works of art that depict normal, everyday objects in a manner of fine art.
Next check out 9 New Outdoor Art Installations Not to Miss in NYC July 2019