ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Robert Indiana, 1928
The name Robert Indiana is not particularly well-known in the UK; I would argue that names such as Warhol, Johns and Lichtenstein eclipse Indiana’s when considering the American Pop Art scene. However, when thinking about universally recognised images and designs, or in this case a simple composition of four letters, Indiana’s LOVE is an exceptional example. It is one of those images that you’re very likely to have seen before, even if you haven’t realised it: on a stamp, a postcard, or even as an altered version, adapted for use in popular culture (see Rage Against the Machine’s Renegades album cover and Google’s 2011 Valentine’s Day doodle). The design was originally created in 1964 for a series of Christmas cards released by the Museum of Modern Art, and has also been produced as a 3-D steel sculpture (of which many different versions exist, including a Hebrew one exhibited in Jerusalem).
I realised I have rambled on and on about LOVE like there’s no tomorrow. But when an image is so internationally identified, I believe its history and impact becomes pretty important. Indiana’s other works also include single words in unique compositions, including Art, Eat and Die. But it is LOVE that has truly stood the test of time … I make myself sick sometimes.