Robert Indiana’s AMOR Sculpture was formally dedicated at its permanent home at Sister Cities Park at 18th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in a ceremony on Friday, December 2nd.
AMOR came to Philadelphia during the celebration of the 2015 World Meeting of Families and the historic visit by Pope Francis. The word “amor” means “love” in Spanish, the Pope’s native language, and Latin, the language of the Catholic Church. Robert Indiana originally conceived the celebrated LOVE image in 1965 through a series of paintings, and a year later in 1966, conceived his editions of LOVE sculptures. His masterpiece quickly gained widespread recognition and public acclaim, entering into major private and public collections around the world, including and most significantly the City of Philadelphia. Indiana’s LOVE has become one of the rare icons of modern art that resonate with large and diverse audiences. Indiana created the Latin/Spanish version of the sculpture, AMOR, in 1998, in response to the changing demographics of the United States and his desire to speak to his fellow citizens.
AMOR was temporarily installed on the East Terrace of the Philadelphia Museum of Art overlooking the public Papal Mass. Its placement at that time was coordinated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in partnership with the Association for Public Art. “For more than a generation, the artist Robert Indiana has been closely associated with the City of Philadelphia. His famous LOVE sculpture has become such a beloved and enduring icon of our city, just as it has remained emblematic of American pop art,” said Gail Harrity, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “As we celebrate the pairing of AMOR with LOVE today, we can take pride as Philadelphians in knowing that the meaning shared by these works extends across cultures and speaks eloquently to our time. At no place could they be more at home together than in the city of Philadelphia.”
Before leaving office, former Mayor Michael A. Nutter initiated the process to keep AMOR in Philadelphia to commemorate the historic events of 2015. With funding provide by the City of Philadelphia, the Morgan Art Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Mrs. Edith R. Dixon and the Association for Public Art, AMOR, has now been acquired for the City of Philadelphia. “Robert Indiana’s LOVE has become the most recognized sculpture in a city with one of the largest collections of public art in the United States. With the installation of AMOR at Sister Cities Park, these two sculptures will forever be in dialogue with one another,” said Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Association for Public Art (aPA). “We are excited to have been a part of this extraordinary partnership that ensures that AMOR will delight and inspire future generations.”
The City selected Sister Cities Park for the site because of its high visibility and public accessibility, and because it is directly in view of the LOVE sculpture, which will return from Dilworth Park to the newly-renovated JFK Plaza/Love Park upon the park’s completion in 2017. “We are honored to be the stewards of AMOR on behalf of the citizens of Philadelphia,” said City of Philadelphia’s Chief Cultural Officer Kelly Lee. “We believe in the positive impact public art can have on Philadelphians’ daily lives and so we hope they will appreciate Robert Indiana’s AMOR as much as they have treasured the LOVE sculpture.”