LOVE by artist Robert Indiana – Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO


[Robert Indiana] All my work is autobiographical. In some ways, it’s connected with my…with my own life. I am Robert Indiana, and this is my “LOVE” sculpture. [Adrian Dannatt] And, I’m Adrian Dannatt, and I’m a writer who’s written a great deal about Robert Indiana, obviously about the “LOVE” sculpture, or the “LOVE project,” as one should really call it, because it’s so much more than a sculpture. The sculpture that we’re looking at here, in Philadelphia, is part of a worldwide project, in a whole variety of media, from the poem that he wrote as a young man, through paintings… [Indiana] There’s thousands of them. [Dannatt] Through t-shirts, through prints, and through sculptures in every different language. [Indiana] All over the world. I used to work for the Indianapolis Star, a newspaper, and I was very close to the composing room. I set my poems in lead type myself, so that my work is very typographic. [Dannatt] And of course, the great innovation, it was the tilting of the letter “O” on to this diagonal. [Indiana] It gives four letters a little bit of dynamism. [Dannatt] It was this diagonal, that turns the word, into really, what is a perfect square. [Indiana] Only…only a hundred times more dynamic. There’s nothing as dumb… as an “O” at attention, I mean, you know. [Laughs quietly] [Dannatt] There were many things from his childhood, as with many artists, things from their childhood that the artists are hardly even aware of, which then later emerge. [Indiana] The “LOVEs” all come from my… from the fact that my father worked for Phillips 66. [Dannatt] The gas company. [Indiana] My mother would drive my father to work and pick him up. We would pass the Phillips 66 station, with a huge circular sign in the sky. The gas pumps were red and green, the uniforms were red and green, the oil cans were red and green, and so it’s the red and green Phillips 66 sign against the blue sky, is why the first one was red, blue, and green. [Dannatt] He realized the potency and the power of colors, especially colors put together, clashing and combining, so it has this great drama to it. [Snaps] The snap, the crack, and the pop, of a classic pop icon. The poem that he wrote in 1955, which is really the inspiration for this work that comes more than a decade later which is quite straighforwardly entitled, “WHEN THE WORD IS LOVE.” [Indiana, in background] Give it feeling, give it feeling! [Dannatt] And it goes like this… [Indiana, in background] Do it slowly! [Dannatt] Dent the head / With the word. / See the lettered scar / On the skull. / On the bone / (In the beginning) / The straight line, / Wherefrom the rounding / Circle is begat, / But on our tongues / Never sat… It’s almost a description of the geometrical elements that make up the physical composition of this word “love.” It’s very curious because it’s almost as if he’s unconcious of the fact that this idea was germinating, that he expressed it as a young man, in a poem of all things. [Indiana] I consider “LOVE” a one-sentence poem. [Dannatt] And his dream is to have these “LOVE” sculptures in every city in the world. He wants this message to be absolutely universal. [Indiana] It would be my intention that… everybody should have love. And there are a lot of people in the world, you know. [Laughs quietly.]

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