Of his many designs, artist Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture is the most iconic. First displayed in Central Park in 1971, the large piece (or at least one version of it) became a fixture in New York City, later moving to the corner of 55th St and 6th Ave in Midtown. It was removed for conservation years ago, but has finally returned, with a new temporary location.
From September 13th through October 23rd, the 12-foot-tall sculpture will be housed in Rockefeller Center, along with other pieces from the artist, courtesy of The Robert Indiana Legacy Initiative.
Simon Salama-Caro, founder of the Initiative, released this statement about the event, “It is an honor to bring the works of Robert Indiana to the people of New York, where we know Bob always wanted his art to be integrated into the vibrant streetscapes and made accessible to the public. Bob’s legacy is woven into the history of this great city, and we are particularly proud to have LOVE return to the place that so energized him as a young artist. I hope these works will inspire and move New Yorkers and visitors to Rockefeller Center anew.”
The LOVE design first appeared on a holiday card commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art in the 1960s, a time when peace and love were being embraced by the counterculture movement. Over time, Indiana’s large artwork (of which there are now many) became an iconic tribute to the era, though to the artist it was also an homage to his childhood, as the original colors were based on a Phillips 66 gas station he would often see. He once said of the sign, "It was absolutely beautiful. I would be in the car and I’d see that red-and-green sign against the blue Indiana sky." (The artist, who was born Robert Clark, changed his name to Robert Indiana when he moved to New York City in the 1950s.)
According to Rockefeller Center, “A second major feature of the installation will be Indiana’s monumental sculptures ONE Through ZERO (The Ten Numbers) (1980-2001), each eight feet high and made of Cor-ten steel, representing the cycle of human life from birth to death.” Additionally, the 193 flags surrounding the Rink “feature images from Indiana’s Peace Paintings series, created as a response to the 9/11 attacks.”
The exhibit (open through October 23rd) is free, and reachable by mass transit. Check out our Rockefeller Center guide before you head there and make a day of it.
You'll be able to find LOVE off of many subway lines