LOVE IS GOD, 1964

Oil on canvas
68 x 68 in.
(172.7 x 172.7 cm.)

Barbaralee Diamonstein:  Perhaps we should begin by your telling us how you happened to create LOVE. . .

Robert Indiana:  Well it all started probably a long, long time ago, and it comes, of course, from a spiritual rather than an erotic beginning. When I was a child I was exposed to and involved in the Christian Science church, and all Christian Science churches are very prim and pure. Most of them have no decoration whatsoever, no stained glass windows, no carvings, no paintings, and, in fact, only one thing appears in a Christian Science church, and that’s a small, very tasteful inscription in gold, usually, over the platform where the readers conduct the service. And that inscription is God Is Love.

Well a few years ago, in the mid-sixties [Larry Aldrich] . . . had the inspiration to expose his rather large private collection to a broader public. There happened to be a building available for this in Ridgefield; it had been a grocery store back in the early nineteenth century. . .this grocery store, later on, some time in the 1920s, became a Christian Science church. Then the Christian Scientists wanted better facilities so they built themselves a new church next door.

I was at a party at Andy Warhol’s old Factory, and Aldrich was there. I didn’t know him very well, but well enough to confront him. I was a little piqued because he had no Indiana, and I thought he should. I told him that an excellent opportunity was forthcoming for a special Indiana, because since he was making his museum in a former Christian Science church, I had an idea to do a special painting just for him. And that was the reversal of the religious motto. My painting read Love Is God instead.

. . .Although the Love Is God canvas bears no relationship to what now has become a logo, it started me thinking about the subject of love. I had been at one time employed as a typist for the man who was to become the bishop of California- then Dean [James A.] Pike, later Bishop Pike, and now in some area of sainthood, I suppose. He, of course, was greatly involved with the subject of love, particularly from an ecclesiastic standpoint.

All these things kind of came together. I like to work on a square canvas, since the way I put the letters down, it is the most economical, the most dynamic way to put four letters on a square canvas.

That is how the LOVE came about . . .

 

Excerpt from Barbarelee Diamonstein, “Interview with Robert Indiana,” in Inside New York’s Art World (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1979)

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
ART

ART

1972-2001
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