This work belongs to Indiana’s 1962 Polygon series, small paintings featuring a numeral from 3 to 12 placed inside a polygon of the corresponding number of sides (i.e. 3-Triangle, 4-Square, etc.). Circles surrounding the polygons contain text with personal and poetic associations. In this work a red nine 9 is placed inside a yellow polygon, and the text surrounding it reads “Nonending Nonagon.”
Colors and numbers had symbolic associations for Indiana. The yellow and black in his paintings comes from traffic signs, and infers danger. The artist associated these two colors with the number 9, as he considered 9 to be the number before death (represented by the number 0), and thus one that warned of danger. A later nonagon painting, Nocturnal Nonagon (2001), also incorporates yellow and black, as does the painting Nine (1965), the three Decade: Autoportrait 1969 paintings, and the polychrome aluminum NINE sculpture (1980–2001).