Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture has become one of the most recognized motifs within contemporary popular culture. From New York to Tokyo, the LOVE series is internationally recognizable and beloved loved by both the art world and the general public, and are displayed in many public places, as well as housed within major museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Hong Kong Museum of Modern Art.
LOVE (Gold/Red), with its simple text and arresting imagery, imperatively calls upon its viewers to act with compassion and create a global community that exists beyond the borders of their nation. This work has been executed in several languages to include Italian and Hebrew and embodies Indiana's remarkable ability to conceive of iconography that appeals universally. Indiana's ability to construct a sculpture that crosses boundaries of cultural identity exemplifies both his formal prowess and his passion for language. Originally conceptualized as a shaped poem and executed in 1966, Indiana's archetypal design became emblematic of the late 1960s Free Love Movement. Just one year after this work was completed, The Beatles released their number one single All You Need is Love. As such LOVE speaks to universal nature of both language and the emotion it conveys.
The post-war period saw a rapid increase in the economic prosperity within the United States. Billboards and commercial signage became an integral part of the American landscape. Growing up in the American Midwest, Indiana was greatly influenced by the use of bold eye-catching colors and hard- edge design that formed much of this signage. By the 1950s, the Pop art movement was established upon both the celebration and critique of American consumerism and the oversaturation of media. While Indiana never considered himself a purveyor of American pop art, his LOVE series quickly placed him among Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein who are considered two of the preeminent leaders of the Pop art movement.
Like Jasper John's iconic Three Flags, LOVE (Gold/Red) addresses the pop culture boom of the 20th century, while effortlessly communicating with a wide audience. The central agenda of the Pop art phenomenon is brilliantly illustrated by Indiana's usage of industrial craftsmanship in order to configure an emblem that has become a sensational brand unto itself. By creating a symbol whose meaning and message are one and the same, his sculptures effortlessly withstand the test of time and continue to appeal to a diverse body of people around the world.