It's that time of year again--heart-shaped candy has already started filling the aisles at our local grocery stores, so we thought it was time to get in the spirit of love! However, before we learn about Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE sculpture, let's talk about an upcoming opportunity at Kentuck to show yourself some love by taking time for YOU on a Creation Vacation!
Creation Vacation is a series of workshops for adults of all levels who want to try their hand at something creative. Saturday, February 2 from 1–3pm or Tuesday, February 7 from 6–8pm, we’ll create some love-inspired wire sculpture. This class is instructed by Kentuck Staff Member Sherri Warner and is a recurring series with a new topic each week. (For details, go to www.kentuck.org/workshops.)
Now, about the LOVE sculpture...
1. LOVE for MoMA Christmas
The sculpture was created by artist Robert Indiana. The artist began experimenting with the design in 1958. He translated the idea into paintings, and in 1965, he hit pay dirt when the Museum of Modern Art commissioned him to do a version of LOVE for a Christmas card, which became one of the museum's most popular items.
2. John Lennon's Influence
When John Lennon, viewing an exhibition from this series, commented that "all you need is love," he amplified Indiana's statement, transforming it into a hit Beatles anthem and oft-repeated refrain.
3. LOVE is International
Versions of the sculpture now exist in Hebrew, Chinese, Italian, and Spanish, as well as the original English. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Love_sculptures for a complete list of existing LOVE sculptures.
4. Philly loves LOVE
The LOVE sculpture has become synonymous with the City of Philadelphia. The sculpture was first brought to Philly in 1976 and displayed on loan as part of their Bicentennial celebrations. Indiana took the sculpture back two years later when the city declined to purchase it. In 1978, Philadelphia businessman, F. Eugene “Fitz” Dixon, purchased the sculpture for $35,000 and donated it to the City of Philadelphia.
5. Was Indiana in it for the LOVE or the money?
The LOVE sculpture has been recreated in paintings, postcards, T-shirts, and postage stamps, and almost ruined Indiana’s career! Many art collectors and critics dismissed him as a sell-out, and some major museums stopped collecting his work. One newspaper reviewer even suggested that Indiana's next word-art should depict MONEY.
6. No Money from Copycats
Due to copyright laws in 1964, Indiana had no legal protection against imitators, and he received almost no money from copycats.
7. February 2018: Restored to Former Glory
In February 2018, Philadelphia’s LOVE returned to public viewing after restoration, but with a new color scheme of red, green, and purple. The City of Philadelphia discovered that sections of the sculpture had been incorrectly painted blue during previous restorations.
8. HOPE 2008
Additionally, Indiana is remembered for his re-creation, “HOPE,” which was used by President Barack Obama’s campaign and the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
9. Once an Icon, Now a Legend
Robert Indiana died at the age of 89 on May 19, 2018.
10. Until Death do Us... Sue?
The day before Indiana died, a company sued the artist and several associates for copyright infringement. Read the story here: https://www.citylab.com/design/2018/05/who-owns-love/560906/.
Want to learn even more about Robert Indiana and the LOVE sculpture? Check out these great resources:
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Show yourself some love—take some time for yourself on a Creation Vacation. This series of workshops is for adults of all levels who want to try their hand at something creative. Saturday, February 2 from 1–3pm or Tuesday, February 7 from 6–8pm, we’ll create some love-inspired wire sculpture. This class is a recurring series with new topics each week! For details, go to www.kentuck.org/workshops.