LOVE Around the World: Robert Indiana

LOVE Around the World: Robert Indiana

Happy Valentine’s Day!

When I came across this photo on Pinterest, it reminded me of the famous LOVE sculpture we see so much of.

Source: Pinterest / Etsy

Do you know the one I’m talking about?

The original 3-D sculpture below was created by American artist Robert Indiana. It’s displayed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and has been since 1970.

Source: Flickr

This short YouTube video shows the sculpture being moved into place – it’s pretty interesting to see what was involved. Imagine this sculpture broken down into pieces, letters into parts… I’m amazed at just how large the LOVE sculpture actually is!

Did you know LOVE with the tilted O was originally designed as a Christmas card for MoMA in 1964? But the iconography itself first appeared in a series of poems Indiana wrote in 1958 where he stacked LO and VE on top of one another… the O of course was not tilted then.

Source: MoMA

LOVE was also turned into a postage stamp in 1973. Notice how the colours are used differently?

Source: Superfly Gallery

It sold more than 300 million copies and was, for many years, the best-selling commemorative stamp in history! Lots to love about this stamp, but seriously, 8 cents for a postage stamp – what’s not to LOVE about that?!

And did you know the LOVE sculpture has been recreated in multiple versions that can be found on display all around the world?

Here are a few of them…

LOVE – Love Park, Philadelphia

Source: Istanbul 74

LOVE – Midtown (55th St. and Sixth Ave), NYC

Source: J Stoddard Final Blog

 LOVE – Shinjuku, Tokyo

Source: World Visit Guide

LOVE – Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England

Source: Flickr

LOVE – In the gardens at Chatsworth House

Source: Commons Wikimedia

LOVE – Blanche Levy Gardens, University of Pennsylvania

Source: And Dreams

LOVE – Scottsdale, Arizona

Source: my Tom Foster

LOVE – L’Hotel Montreal, Montreal, QC

Source: Black Cog Bicycle Blog

And this last LOVE I definitely couldn’t leave out…

LOVE – Buschlen Mowatt Gallery, Vancouver, BC

Source: Flickr

These are just a sampling of all the LOVE that’s out there!

But do you know what’s really backwards?

Source: Flickr

According to Mental Floss Blog, even thought Indiana’s LOVE spread, his name didn’t, and he had little financial gain. Indiana hadn’t wanted to disrupt his initial design with his signature or a copyright notice, which meant he had no legal protection against imitators. This resulted in his image being replicated (stolen) in countless ways. Indiana eventually copyrighted some variants of his creation, but by that time it was too late to file suit against the flood of false LOVEs on the market.

Robert Indiana has an interesting history, more than I can do justice in a recap here, but it’s worth it to read up on him. I thought Megan Wilde’s article in Mental Floss Blog was very informative. And for more on Robert Indiana you might want to check out Ro Gallery here.

One last little piece of info…

Source: If It’s Hip It’s Here Blog

Did you know that Robert Indiana was actually born Robert Clarke, and he adopted the name of his native state, Indiana, as a pseudonymous surname early in his career?

Interesting history, indeed. And thanks to Robert Indiana, we have a whole lot of LOVE spread around!

I hope you have a great day!




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