ART, 1972-2001

Polychrome Aluminum
144 x 144 x 72 in.
(366 x 366 x 182 cm.)

Conceived in 1972 and executed in 2001.

Robert Indiana’s sculpture ART, conceived in 1972, represents one of the most important new directions in the artist’s work developed during the 1970s. It combines several of Indiana’s signature stylistic elements, blending language and image together with hard-edge line and pure color. Indiana first developed his distinctive interpretation of ART in 1970 as a design for a museum poster for the exhibition “American Art Since 1960”at the Princeton University Art Museum. As Indiana recounted in his Autochronology, “The artist is commissioned to do the poster for this show, unveiling the next single word to occupy his attention largely in the Seventies: ART. A poster, other posters, prints, paintings, culminating in sculpture just as had LOVE.”

ART made its debut as a sculpture in Indiana’s 1972 solo exhibition at the Denise René Gallery in New York. The exhibition was Indiana’s first solo exhibition in New York since his famed 1966 LOVE show at the Stable Gallery six years earlier, and through its choice of works was intended to provide a major statement on Indiana’s achievements as well as point to the new directions his art was taking.

There is a distinct architectural quality to the ART sculpture, particularly in the large-scale versions, which relates perhaps to Indiana’s own interest in early childhood in becoming an architect, and his descriptions of approaching his paintings from an architectural standpoint. The complexity of ART in three-dimensional form is striking, as one moves around it the word shifts between different levels of abstraction and legibility, making it clear why Indiana characterized sculpture as the culmination of the series. He also explored the effect of different color variations, in line with his traditional practice of investigating different facets of a subject through combinations of brilliant color or monochrome.

In ART, Indiana returned to his formative interest in three-letter words such as EAT, DIE, HUG and ERR, which he had used in many of his most important sculptures and paintings of the early 1960s. From these seemingly simple words, Indiana extracts a powerful range of associations. ART suggests both a pictogram and a concrete poem, engaging in a semiotic play that collapses signifier and signified. Altering the typical side by side placement of letters, so that “A” forms a supporting structure that the “R” and “T” lean against, Indiana’s sculpture impels the viewer to confront this familiar combination of three letters in entirely new ways.

Medium

Decade

View

Clear Filters
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
TECH

TECH

1945
500

500

1945
BEAN BUD

BEAN BUD

1945
MENE MENE TEKEL

MENE MENE TEKEL

1955-56/1989
GINKGO

GINKGO

1957/1959
HUB

HUB

1957/2005
SOURCE I

SOURCE I

1959
THE SLIPS

THE SLIPS

1959-1960
RA

RA

1960
ZIG

ZIG

1960
SOUL

SOUL

1960
OWL

OWL

1960
ORB

ORB

1960
MOON

MOON

1960
M

M

1960
HOLE

HOLE

1960
GE

GE

1960
WALL OF CHINA

WALL OF CHINA

1960 - 1961
ELECTI

ELECTI

1960-1961
MARINE WORKS

MARINE WORKS

1960-1962
MATE

MATE

1960-1962
TWO

TWO

1960-1962
JEANNE D'ARC

JEANNE D'ARC

1960-1962
BAR

BAR

1960-1962
LAW

LAW

1960-1962
STAR

STAR

1960-1962
CUBA

CUBA

1960-1962
MELVILLE

MELVILLE

1961
BALLYHOO

BALLYHOO

1961
HARDROCK

HARDROCK

1961
WOMB

WOMB

1961
SLIP

SLIP

1961
GEM

GEM

1961/1984
DOWN

DOWN

1962
UP

UP

1962
GRASS

GRASS

1962
FOR

FOR

1962
EAT/DIE

EAT/DIE

1962
HUG

HUG

1962
HUB

HUB

1962
FOUR

FOUR

1962
EAT

EAT

1962
CHIEF

CHIEF

1962
AHAB

AHAB

1962
DIE

DIE

1962/1984
X-5

X-5

1963
COLUMN LOVE

COLUMN LOVE

1963-1964
COLUMN HUG

COLUMN HUG

1963-1964
COLUMN EAT

COLUMN EAT

1963-1964
FLAGELLANT

FLAGELLANT

1963/1969
LOVE

LOVE

1964
LOVE

LOVE

1964
ONE

ONE

1965
TWO

TWO

1965
THREE

THREE

1965
FOUR

FOUR

1965
FIVE

FIVE

1965
SIX

SIX

1965
SEVEN

SEVEN

1965
EIGHT

EIGHT

1965
NINE

NINE

1965
ZERO

ZERO

1965
MODEL T

MODEL T

1966
LOVE

LOVE

1966
666

666

1966
LOVE

LOVE

1966-1999
LOVE WALL

LOVE WALL

1966/2006
LOVE

LOVE

1967
APOGEE

APOGEE

1970
AHAVA

AHAVA

1977
MONARCHY

MONARCHY

1981
FIVE

FIVE

1984
MARS

MARS

1990
ICARUS

ICARUS

1992
EVE

EVE

1997
AMOR

AMOR

1998-2006
COMET

COMET

2000