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Robert Indiana

 

Robert Indiana

Born in New Castle, Indiana in 1928 and died in 2018.

Robert Indiana adopted the name of his home state after serving in the US military. The artist received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1954 and following the advice of his friend Ellsworth Kelly, he relocated to New York, setting up a studio in the Coenties Slip neighborhood of Lower Manhattan and joined the pop art movement. The work of the American Pop artist Robert Indiana is rooted in the visual idiom of twentieth-century American life with the same degree of importance and influence as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

As a self-proclaimed “American painter of signs” Indiana gained international renown in the early 1960’s, he drew inspiration from the American road and shop signs, billboards, and commercial logos and combined it with a sophisticated formal and conceptual approach that turned a familiar vocabulary into something entirely new, his artworks often consists of bold, simple, iconic images, especially numbers and short words like “EAT”, “HOPE”, and “LOVE” what Indiana called “sculptural poems”.

The iconic work “LOVE”, served as a print image for the Museum of Modern Art ‘s Christmas card in 1964 and sooner later the design became popular as US postage stamp. “LOVE” has also appeared in prints, paintings, sculptures, banners, rings, tapestries. Full of erotic, religious, autobiographical, and political undertones — it was co-opted as an emblem of 1960s idealism (the hippie free love movement). Its original rendering in sculpture was made in 1970 and is displayed in Indiana at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Versions of the sculpture now exist in Hebrew, Chinese, Italian, and Spanish, as well as the original English.

In 2008, Indiana created the “HOPE” image based on his iconic “LOVE” and donated all proceeds to Democrat Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. This unique 2009 screen-print sports a tilted “O” meant to symbolize onward—and upward—movement. In bringing us HOPE, Indiana continues his use of bright colors, clearly defined hard edges, simple formal configurations and monosyllabic words to serve as signposts pointing us to observe American issues and topics, including the socio-political. His adoption of striking hues and bold, simple colors can also be attributed to his affiliation with the 'hard-edge' painters of his generation. Incorporating words and numbers into his work, Indiana struck upon a style that was both simple and lyrical, expressing the idealism of the post-war generation.

Indiana’s artwork has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world. In September 2013, the Whitney Museum of American Art opened “Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE,” the artist’s first retrospective in New York.



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