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Robert Indiana

August 13, 1928 -
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Robert Clark was born in Indiana in 1928 and later changed his name to Robert Indiana after his birth state. In college, he studied art at multiple universities and settled in New York City to start his career. Choosing the Coenties Slip as his new neighborhood, he was surrounded by a community of other artists who searched the city for items and created assemblage art. Indiana found his inspiration from billboards and other American signage. He would make colorful, hard-edged designs that would have lettering and words incorporated into them. Robert Indiana was a pop artist that would take familiar American iconography and manipulate it to make something new. Unlike other pop artists, he often included social, political, historical, and literary references in his works. One of his most famous works was the LOVE image which soon gained a massive following and became an icon. Indiana had been incorporating the theme of love in earlier works, but the official LOVE sculpture used large letters uniquely arranged and stacked on one another. This image of the letters started popping up everywhere, from sculptures, MOMA’s Christmas card and merchandise, and even stamps. Some people would criticize that the artist said he sold out, but others said this creation was the emblem of the so-called “love generation.” This success did not mark the end of his career. In 1978, he moved to a remote island in Maine and chose to make art that reflected the surrounding scenery. During this period he was also employed for graphic design, stage and set design, and even created a basketball court for the Milwaukee Convention Center. Forty years later, Robert Indiana passed away in 2018. Viewers can see his works at major institutions such as MOMA, the Whitney, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian.

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