LOVE is a pop art image by American artist Robert Indiana. It consists of the letters LO over the letters VE; the O is canted sideways so that its oblong negative space creates a line leading to the V. The original image, with green and blue spaces backing red lettering, served as a print image for a Museum of Modern Art Christmas card in 1964. In much this same form the design soon graced a popular US postage stamp.
LOVE's original rendering in sculpture was made in 1970 and is displayed in Indiana at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The material is COR-TEN steel. Indiana's LOVE design has since been reproduced in a variety of formats for rendering in displays around the world.
MoMA historian Deborah Wye describes Indiana's image as "full of erotic, religious, autobiographical, and political underpinnings" that make it "both accessible and complex in meaning. Megan Wilde offered more detail about the autobiographical origins in an article for Mental Floss magazine, "[T]he word love was connected to [the artist's] childhood experiences attending a Christian Science church, where the only decoration was the wall inscription God is Love. The colors were an homage to his father, who worked at a Phillips 66 gas station during the Depression". She quotes Robert Indiana as describing the original colors as "the red and green of that sign against the blue Hoosier sky".
Indiana's image was quickly adapted upon its appearance in the 1960s by the hippie free love movement and again in the 1990s by skateboard enthusiasts after skateboarding was banned in Philadelphia's LOVE Park.
The image has been rendered and parodied in many forms. After the 1964 MoMA card, one of the early commercial uses of the image was on the LP cover of the 1967 studio recording of Olivier Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony, featuring the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa (RCA LSC-7051). The original book cover for Erich Segal's novel Love Story alluded to the design, and the TV series Bridget Loves Bernie included a shot of the Sixth Avenue sculpture in its opening credits. The first opening sequence of the Skip Beat! anime includes the image in the initial frames. The United States Post Office issued an eight-cent stamp in 1973 featuring the image. Parodies of the image appeared on covers of records by Rage Against the Machine (Renegades), Oasis ("Little by Little" single) and Acen Razvi (75 Minutes). London artist D*Face parodied the image by rendering the word "hate" with the "A" tilted and Belgian artist Eddy Gabriel made a version using the word "lost". The sculpture is remade to read "THPS" in the Xbox expansion of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, which has a stage set in Philadelphia's Love Park. The set reappears in Tony Hawk's Underground 2.
In 2003, the iconic letters were painted on a tennis court next to the Nike SF-89L Nuclear Missile Site behind the abandoned Public Health Service Hospital in the Presidio of San Francisco, California. According to conceptual artist, Erik Seidenglanz, the letters are proportional to the tennis court, identical to Robert Indiana's LOVE typography are painted in white and a mirror image of it. This LOVE court can be found in the History Imagery timeline of Google Earth
Amor, National Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Tennis court in San Francisco, California by conceptual artist Erik Seidenglanz
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Love by Robert Indiana.|
- "Love" (sculpture), Explore Art: IMA Collections. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 166
- "MoMA". MoMA.org.
- "Masterpieces: Robert Indiana's LOVE". Mental Floss.
- Free Love Park, Philadelphia PA Archived 2003-06-02 at the Wayback Machine.
- witzenstein. "Witzenstein". witzenstein.blogspot.com.
- "Real Normal". Public Art on Public Site. Baily Salisbury. 26 April 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- "Love Love". Love Is Not A Zero. ESP. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- "Google Earth Forums". Public Art on Public Site. Baily Salisbury. 26 April 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2014-05-07.