Beyond Love
May 22, 2018 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Robert Indiana, the American Pop Art artist, has passed away at the age of 89. His work featured bold shapes and colors and declarative words inspired by advertising. Sadly, his last days were marred with accusations of isolation by his caretakers and lawsuits being filed.

He was most known to the general public for his LOVE sculpture, which was reproduced on a stamp and in countless authorized and unauthorized replicas, he was in a sense overshadowed by it.

“The work he did in the ’60s in particular is very powerful, both dark and celebratory, with layers of autobiographical and cultural references. It’s not this superficial, optimistic, clichéd work that some people associate with his monumental sculpture.”

Whether sell-out or stolen from, his reputation diminished, but recent retrospectives of his work, such as the Whitney's Beyond Love, brought him back to the attention of the art world. The show featured not only his paintings but his sculptures, wooden pieces he called herms and which were made from scavenged wood. The exhibition explored the layers underneath the pithy surface of his work, revealing an artist who deserved to be known for the breadth of his art.
posted by PussKillian (15 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Kattullus at 8:45 AM on May 22, 2018

posted by standardasparagus at 8:47 AM on May 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

From the NYT obit: Although few fans seem familiar with the background, the art historian Susan Elizabeth Ryan revealed in her monograph on Mr. Indiana that the first version of his most famous work was markedly different. Completed “within complex circumstances” at the end of 1964, after Mr. Indiana and Mr. Kelly had broken up, Ms. Ryan wrote, it had a cruder four-letter word in place of “love,” in a similar composition with a tilted “u.”
posted by neroli at 8:51 AM on May 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Aww, shit. Long a favourite of mine, since I first encountered him at Buffalo's Albright-Knox. Speaking of which, the AK is about to host a retrospective on Indiana's sculpture. A Must-See exhibit now even more so. He offered so much more than just his LOVE icon.

Safe journey, Robert.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:55 AM on May 22, 2018

It's always been sad how his overall body of work has been overshadowed (and, his reputation diminished) by the one piece. His work is definitely worth the effort to come to know.

posted by Thorzdad at 9:01 AM on May 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by mwhybark at 9:24 AM on May 22, 2018

posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 9:42 AM on May 22, 2018

> neroli:
"it had a cruder four-letter word in place of “love,” in a similar composition with a tilted “u.”"

He was ahead of his time, as so many artists are.
posted by chavenet at 9:43 AM on May 22, 2018


Aw. Philly loves you, Mr. Indiana.
posted by desuetude at 9:58 AM on May 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:09 AM on May 22, 2018

He was ahead of his time, as so many artists are.

This, from 1971, hangs in my office. A reminder of things that do not really change, and the artists who try to remind us.

posted by The Bellman at 12:06 PM on May 22, 2018

He's an artists whose work I didn't have any kind of definitive opinion f until I read this interview a friend did with him a few years ago. The story of even getting to Vinalhaven to do the interview was almost as good as the interview itself. I can't remember if it was longer and this is truncated or if the print version was actually this short.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 5:59 PM on May 22, 2018

posted by tychotesla at 11:52 PM on May 22, 2018

Makes me really angry to see artists taken advantage of like this. Artists are usually taken advantage of, but this is especially egregious. Fuck (almost)everyone involved in the art world besides actual artists.
posted by GoblinHoney at 2:36 PM on May 24, 2018

« Older Dovey Johnson Roundtree 1914 - 2018   |   You have a graph. It’s very dense. You have this... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments