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Robert Indiana leaves legacy of 'LOVE'

Philipp Jedicke sh
May 22, 2018

Once part of the inner circle of Andy Warhol's Pop Art scene, the artist best known for creating the "LOVE" sculpture has passed away at the age of 89. He left a world of love, and hope, in his wake.

Robert Indiana tot
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/AP/J. Page

Born Robert Clark in 1928 in the Midwestern state of Indiana, artist Robert Indiana died on May 19, leaving behind a storied career and a legacy of love-inspired artwork.

In 1954, Indiana moved to New York, where he became deeply entrenched in the Pop Art Scene that was being pioneered by Andy Warhol. In the 1960s, Indiana gained international fame with his oversized statues of stacked up letters that form the word "LOVE." Today, the sculptures can be seen all over the world, from Jerusalem to Saint Petersburg and Berlin.

Read more: Pop art politics: Activism of Keith Haring

An underappreciated artist

But this masterpiece wasn't the only one Indiana did in his lifetime. He also painted a portrait of Jimmy Carter and created a "HOPE" sculpture that helped raise money for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. But for better or worse, the fame of "LOVE" overshadowed his other accomplishments.

Although "LOVE" debuted in the 1960s, it wasn't until 2013 that Indiana was honored with a major exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. The artist's brief comment on the honor was: "That took a while."

USA Philadelphia -  LOVE Statu
The "LOVE" statue in PhiladelphiaImage: picture-alliance/Newscom/A. Jenny

Living in solitude

Indiana had a reputation for being a hermit. Once, he stood up Barack Obama in the White House. Another time, he had a TV team from US broadcaster NBC wait for days near his home before finally allowing reporters to interview him.

In 1978, Indiana moved from New York to his estate on Vinalhaven, an island off the coast of Maine. The artist often visited Vinalhaven's artist colony before moving there.

pj/suc/sh (dpa/AP)

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