October 06, 2013

ROBERT INDIANA AT WHITNEY MUSEUM




RETROSPEKTIVE OF POP ARTIST ROBERT INDIANA AT WHITNEY MUSEUM
CURATOR BARBARA HASKELL
June 18,2013 – January 5, 2014




RETROSPEKTIVE OF POP ARTIST ROBERT INDIANA AT WHITNEY MUSEUM
CURATOR BARBARA HASKELL
June 18,2013 – January 5, 2014
New York, June 18, 2013—The first major American museum retrospective devoted to the work of Robert Indiana will be presented by the Whitney Museum of American Art this fall. Organized by Whitney curator Barbara Haskell, the exhibition focuses on the powerful body of work created by Indiana over the past five decades, exploring his bold use of language, his continual questioning and dissection of American identity, and the multiple layers of personal history embedded in his art. The exhibition, Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE, will be on view in the Whitney’s fourth-floor Emily Fisher Landau Galleries from September 26, 2013, through January 5, 2014.
Known the world over for his iconic LOVE, Indiana (b. 1928) early on embraced a vocabulary of highway signs and roadside entertainments, combining words with images to create art that was dazzlingly bold and visually kinetic. In the early 1960s, he was central to the emergence of Pop art, along with Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol. Like these contemporaries, he
shared a desire to both critique and celebrate post-war American culture. Using a populist, quintessentially American style, he addressed in his work many of the fundamental issues facing humanity, including love, death, sin, forgiveness, and racial injustice.
Joining simple declarative words with bold, hard-edge graphics allowed Indiana to embed multiple layers of autobiographical and cultural references into his art. Although visually dazzling on the surface, his imagery has a psychologically disquieting subtext; it draws on the myths, history, art, and literature of the
United States to raise questions about American identity and American values. “Indiana’s exploration of identity, racial injustice, and the illusion and disillusion of love give emotional poignancy and symbolic complexity to our ever-evolving understanding of the ambiguities of American democracy and the plight of the individual in the modern world,” says curator Barbara Haskell.
The success of LOVE eclipsed to a great extent the range and breadth of Indiana’s work. Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE remedies this by placing well known works such as EAT/DIE (1962)Exploding Numbers (1964-66)and LOVE (1965) alongside more than seventy-five other works, from early pieces the artist made in 1955 to his Ninth American Dream (2001), the last piece in a series that has consumed him
throughout his career. Also included are:
-- Indiana’s painted vertical wood sculptures, (called herms by the artist after
anthropomorphic stone pillars in ancient Greece);
-- his abstract geometric paintings from the late 1950s and early 1960s;
-- his entire politically-charged Confederacy series, pinpointing sites of violent crimes
against African Americans and civil rights workers;
-- Indiana’s rarely seen papier-collé collages of costumes that he designed for the
Bicentennial production of Virgil Thomson’s and Gertrude Stein’s operatic
collaboration The Mother of Us All;
-- Indiana’s series of paintings using texts drawn from the American writers Walt
Whitman, Herman Melville, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow;
-- paintings inspired by twentieth-century American masterworks by artists such as
Joseph Stella, Charles Demuth, and Marsden Hartley.
By early 1960, the artist, known by then as Robert Indiana (having changed his name from Robert Clark in 1958), had begun to apply elementary words onto his vertical wooden sculptures or herms, using found stencils that had been employed in earlier times to affix trademarks and labels to commercial freight. The use of straightforward, everyday words allowed Indiana to work on multiple levels, creating
works which were, on one hand, immediately understandable and direct and, on the other, akin to conceptually multilayered verbal-visual puzzles. “Indiana’s marriage of language and hard-edge abstraction was audacious,” says Haskell. “It was one thing to insinuate words into an overall composition or depict them with painterly brushstrokes, but to present them without mediation, in the style of advertisements, was unprecedented.”
Indiana was thrust into the spotlight of the New York art world when Alfred Barr, director of the Museum of Modern Art, purchased American Dream 1 in 1961, before Pop art had coalesced as a movement. Two years later, Indiana’s status as one of the major artists of his generation was solidified by Dorothy Miller’s inclusion of his work in her exhibition of rising talents, Americans 1963. By the time Indiana was
commissioned by Philip Johnson to make a work for the New York State Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair, he was considered one of the leading Pop artists of the day.
LOVE, with its stacked letters and tilted “O,” is Indiana’s best-known but also his most controversial work. In taking a commonplace word and transforming it into a powerfully resonant art object onto which viewers could project their own spiritual, erotic, and personal experiences and associations, Indiana created one of the most famous images in 20th century art. LOVE appeared at the height of the countercultural revolution and instantly became a talisman of sexual freedom, with massive numbers of commercial products bearing the image produced without the artist’s permission. Over time, the plethora of objects bearing the LOVE logo, and Indiana’s almost exclusive identification with the image, muted recognition of the complexities and range of his art.
A reassessment of Indiana’s career has been underway for several years. With this reevaluation has come recognition of the poignancy and complexity of Indiana’s work and its status as a precedent for the contemporary text-based art of younger artists such as Jenny Holzer, Mel Bochner, Glenn Ligon, Christopher Wool, and Barbara Kruger. Presenting the full sweep of Indiana’s work, this exhibition provides audiences with the opportunity to revisit the work of an artist central to the narrative of the 1960s as well as to contemporary practice.

www.whitney.org










THE CALUMET 1961
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 228.6 X 213.4 cm
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham,
Massachusetts, Gevirtz – Mnuchin Purchase Fund 1962
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY







ORB, 1960
Oil, Iron Wheels, and Iron on Wood
Dimensions: 157.5 X 49.5 X 48.2 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




THE AMERICAN SWEETHEART 1959 – 1961
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 243.8 X 121.9 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation.
Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






TERRE HAUTE 1960
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 152.4 X 91.4 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




HOLE 1960
Gesso, Oil, Wood and Iron Wheels on Wood
Dimensions: 114.3 X 48.2 X 33 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






LOVE CROSS 1968
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 457.2 X 457.2 cm
The Menil Collection, Houston
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY














THE FIGURE FIVE 1963
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 152.4 X 127 cm
National Museum of American Art,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






THE X - 5 1963
Oil on Canvas
Five Panels, Diamond
Dimensions: 91.4 X 91.4 cm - 274.3 X 274.3 cm
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




MATE 1960 – 1962






THE GREEN DIOMAND EAT – THE RED DIOMAND DIE 1962
Dimensions: 2 Panels Each: 153 X 153 cm
Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, Gift of the T. B. Walker Foundation, 1981
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






SOUL 1960
Gesso, Oil, Iron and Iron Wheels on Wood
Dimensions: 128.2 X 42.5 X 34.2 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




EXPLODING NUMBERS 1964 – 1965
Oil on Canvas 
4 Panels - Dimensions: 30.5 X 30.5 cm - 61 X 61 cm 
91.4 X 91.4 cm - 121.9 X 121.9 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE 1964
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 342.9 X 342.9 cm
The Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase,
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Buhl Ford II Fund
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






DECADE AUTOPORTRAIT 1961, 1972 – 1977
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 182.9 X 182.9 cm
Collection of the Mcnay Art Museum, San Antonio,
Texas, Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






MOTHER & FATHER 1963 – 1966
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: Each Panel: 182.9 X 152.4 cm
Collection of the Artist
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




GE 1960
Gesso, Oil and Iron Wheels on Wood
Dimensions: 148.5 X 30.5 X 35.6 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




THE TRIUMPH OF TIRA 1960 – 1961
Oil on Canvas  
Dimensions: 182.8 X 152.4 cm
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, University of Nebraska – Lincoln,
Nelle Cochrane Woods Memorial
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






TWO 1960 – 1962
Oil and Iron Wheels on Wood
Dimensions: 158.7 X 48.2 X 50.8 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




STAR 1960 – 1962
Oil and Gesso on Wood With Iron Wheels
Dimensions: 193 X 45.7 X 33 cm
Albright – Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York,
Gift of Seymour H. Knox, JR. 1963
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






THE SWEET MYSTRY 1959 – 1960
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 182.9 X 152.4 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY








INDIANA AND ANDY WARHOL IN WARHOL LOFT 1964




THE EATERIA 1962
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 153 X 121.6 cm
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution
Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn 1966
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






THE AMERICAN GAS WORKS 1962






THE BEWARE – DANGER AMERICAN DREAM # 4 – 1963
Oil on Canvas
Four Panels, Diomond
Dimensions: Each: 91.6 X 91.6 cm
Overall: 259.5 X 259.5 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




THE MELVILLE TRIPTYCH 1961
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 3 Panels: 152.4 X 365.7 cm;Overall
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




THE CONFEDERACY LOUISIANA 1966
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 8 X 152.4 cm
Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, Illinois
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






THE CONFEDERACY ALABAMA 1965
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 177.8 X 152.3 cm
Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, Ohio
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




MENE MENE TEKEL 1955 – 1956 , 1989
Oil on Homasote With Rusted Nails
Dimensions: 97.8 X 146.7 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




TEKEL ( ‘’ BROTHERS ‘’ ODD FELLOWS ) 1954 – 1956, 1989
Oil, Gesso, Sand, and Gold Leaf on Homasote
Dimensions: 120 X 120 cm
 All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






THE BLACK DIOMAND AMERICAN DREAM # 2 – 1962
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 215.9 X 215.9 cm
Museu Colecçao Berardo, Lisbon
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






THE DIETARY 1962
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 152.4 X 121.9 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY








KvF IV ( HARTLEY ELEGY ) 1989 – 1994
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 195.6 X 129.5 cm
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






YEAR OF METEORS 1961
Oil on Canvas cm
Dimensions: 228.6 X 213.3 cm
Albright – Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York,
Gift of Seymour H. Knox, 1962
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY






LOVE 1968
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 182.5 X 182.5 cm
Indianapolis Museum of Art, James E. Roberts Fund
All Works ©  2015 Morgan Art Foundation. Artist Rights Society ( ARS ), NY




LOVE 1966 – 1993 TOKYO JAPAN














VIDEO: SHIMON AZULAY  © VERNISSAGE TV








ROBERT INDIANA
Robert Indiana, one of the preeminent figures in American art since the 1960s, has played a central role in the development of assemblage art, hard-edge painting and Pop art. A self proclaimed “American painter of signs,” Indiana has created a highly original body of work that explores American identity, personal history and the power of abstraction and language, establishing an important legacy that resonates in the work of many contemporary artists who make the written word a central element of their oeuvre.
Robert Indiana was born Robert Clark in New Castle, Indiana on September 13, 1928.   Adopted as an infant, he spent his childhood moving frequently throughout his namesake state. His artistic talent was evident at an early age, and its recognition by a first grade teacher encouraged his decision to become an artist. In 1942 Indiana moved to Indianapolis in order to attend Arsenal Technical High School, known for its strong arts curriculum. After graduating he spent three years in the U.S. Air Force and then studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in Maine, and the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland.
In 1956, two years after moving to New York, Indiana met Ellsworth Kelly, and upon his recommendation took up residence in Coenties Slip, once a major port on the southeast tip of Manhattan. There he joined a community of artists that would come to include Kelly, Agnes Martin, James Rosenquist and Jack Youngerman. The environment of the Slip had a profound impact on Indiana’s work, and his early paintings include a series of hard-edge double ginkgo leaves inspired by the trees which grew in nearby Jeannette Park. He also incorporated the ginkgo form into his 19-foot mural Stavrosis (1958), a crucifixion pieced together from forty-four sheets of paper that he found in his loft. It was upon completion of this work that Indiana adopted the name of his native state as his own.
Indiana, like some of his fellow artists, scavenged the area’s abandoned warehouses for materials, creating sculptural assemblages from old wooden beams, rusted metal wheels and other remnants of the shipping trade that had thrived in Coenties Slip. While he created hanging works such as Jeanne d’Arc  (1960) and Wall of China (1960), the majority were freestanding constructions which Indiana called “herms” after the sculptures that served as boundary markers at crossroads in ancient Greece and Rome. The discovery of 19th century brass stencils led to the incorporation of brightly colored numbers and short emotionally charged words onto these sculptures as well as canvases, and became the basis of his new painterly vocabulary.
Indiana quickly gained repute as one of the most creative artists of his generation, and was featured in influential New York shows such as New Forms - New Media at the Martha Jackson Gallery (1960), Art of Assemblage at the Museum of Modern Art (1961), and The New Realists at the Sidney Janis Gallery (1962). In 1961, the Museum of Modern Art acquired The American Dream, I (1961), the first in a series of paintings exploring the illusory American Dream, establishing Indiana as one of the most significant members of the new generation of Pop artists who were eclipsing the prominent painters of the New York School.
Although acknowledged as a leader of Pop, Indiana distinguished himself from his Pop peers by addressing important social and political issues and incorporating profound historical and literary references into his works. American literary references appear in paintings such as The Calumet (1961) and Melville (1961), exhibited in 1962 in Indiana’s first New York solo exhibition, held at Eleanor Ward’s Stable Gallery. In 1964 Indiana accepted Philip Johnson’s invitation to design a new work for the New York State Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, creating a 20-foot EAT sign composed of flashing lights, and collaborated with Andy Warhol on the film Eat, a silent portrait of Indiana eating a mushroom in his Coenties Slip studio. His first European solo exhibition took place in 1966 at Galerie Schmela in Düsseldorf, Germany, and featured his Numbers (1965), a series of paintings on a theme that he has explored in various formats throughout his career.
1966 marked a turning point in Indiana’s career with the success of his LOVE image, which had been featured in a solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery.  The word love, a theme central to Indiana’s work, first appeared in the painting Four Star Love (1961). Love is a subject of great spiritual significance for the artist, illustrated by the painting Love Is God (1964), which was inspired by an inscription in the Christian Science churches he attended in his youth.  Initially experimenting with a composition of stacked letters in a series of 1964 rubbings, Indiana subsequently turned this inventive design, a formal departure from his previous works, into different hard-edged color variations on canvas.  Indiana’s LOVE, selected by the Museum of Modern Art in 1965 for their Christmas card, quickly permeated wider popular culture, and was adopted as an emblem of the “Love Generation.” Appearing on a best-selling United States Postal Service stamp (1973) and reproduced on countless unauthorized products, the proliferation of the image led, on one hand, to negative criticism and incorrect assumptions of the artist as a sell-out. However, the image’s popularity more importantly emphasizes its great resonance with large and diverse audiences and has become an icon of modern art. The universality of the subject, to which Indiana continues to return, is further evidenced by his translation of LOVE into AHAVA (Hebrew) and AMOR (Spanish).
In 1978, Indiana chose to remove himself from the New York art world. He settled on the remote island of Vinalhaven in Maine, moving into the Star of Hope, a Victorian building that had previously served as an Odd Fellows Lodge. After a period spent setting up his home and new studio, Indiana turned to themes that related to his local experience, working on a suite of eighteen large-scale paintings known as The Hartley Elegies (1989-94), inspired by the German Officer paintings of Marsden Hartley, who lived on Vinalhaven in the summer of 1938. He also used found objects to create sculptures such as Ash (1985) and Mars (1990), works that reflected his new surroundings while also making reference to his past, and returned to and expanded upon his seminal American Dream series, completing The Ninth American Dreamin 2001.
In addition to being a painter and sculptor, Indiana has created a significant number of prints, among them the Numbers Portfolio (1968), a collaboration with the poet Robert Creeley, as well as many other works of graphic art, including the poster for the opening of the New York State Theater, Lincoln Center (1964), and the poster for the opening exhibition of the Hirshhorn Museum of Art (1974). He designed the stage sets and costumes for the Virgil Thompson and Gertrude Stein opera The Mother of Us All, which was presented in 1967 at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and expanded in 1976 for the Santa Fe Opera in honor of the Bicentennial. Indiana has also created other unique projects, such as the design for a basketball court at the Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center Arena in 1977.
Indiana’s artwork has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world, and his works are in the permanent collections of important museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Ablright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands, the Museum Ludwig in Vienna, Austria, the Shanghai Art Museum in China, and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He has also been included in numerous international publications, and is the subject of a number of monographs.