(September 13, 1928 - living) U.S.A.
Robert Indiana, born in New Castle, Indiana, as Robert Clark, is a pop artist best known for his bold, simple, and striking imagery. In 1964, artist Philip Johnson commissioned Indiana's "EAT" into a sign for the New York World's Fair; the sign had to be turned off on the second day of the fair after it caused mass confusion among visitors seeking food.
The same year, Indiana received a commission from the Museum of Modern Art for a Christmas card design for which he created an image that emphasized the words "Love is God." In 1966, Indiana exhibited a series of "LOVE" paintings that featured the now-iconic four red block letters completely filling a canvas against a blue and green background, with each letter filling a quarter of the picture (the L and a tilted O in the top quadrants, the V and E in the bottom).
"LOVE" had an immediate impact, especially as a symbol of the counterculture in the 1960s; in all its many forms - paintings, graphic designs, sculptures - "LOVE" became one of the most widely disseminated images of all time. In 1973, the U.S. Postal Service commissioned a "LOVE" postage stamp resulting in the most popular stamp ever issued by the U.S. government. And, for many, the impact of "LOVE" is even greater because Indiana is an openly gay man who has incorporated queer themes into his work throughout his career.
He now lives and works in Maine.
Robert Indiana and "LOVE," Central Park, New York City, 1971. Photo © Jack Mitchell.