ART, 1972–2001

Polychrome Aluminum
144 x 144 x 72 in.
(365.8 x 365.8 x 182.9 cm)

Conceived in 1972 and executed in 2001

©2021 MORGAN ART FOUNDATION LTD./ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NY

Robert Indiana’s sculpture ART, conceived in 1972, represents an important new direction in the artist’s work from 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 autochronolgy, “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.” [1]

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. Indiana created various color combinations of the sculpture, in line with his practice of exploring the multiple facets of a subject through different 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 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.

[1] Except from the artist’s autochronology, published in in Robert L. B. Tobin, William Katz, and Donald B. Goodall. Robert Indiana. Austin: University of Texas, 1977.

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
HUB

HUB

1957/2005
SOURCE I

SOURCE I

1959
THE SLIPS

THE SLIPS

1959–60
SUN AND MOON

SUN AND MOON

1959–60
FOUR

FOUR

1959–62/1972
TWO GOLDEN ORBS

TWO GOLDEN ORBS

1959/2001
GINKGO

GINKGO

1960
RA

RA

1960
SOUL

SOUL

1960
OWL

OWL

1960
MOON

MOON

1960
M

M

1960
GE

GE

1960
WALL OF CHINA

WALL OF CHINA

1960–61
ELECTI

ELECTI

1960–61
MARINE WORKS

MARINE WORKS

1960–62
MATE

MATE

1960–62
TWO

TWO

1960–62
JEANNE D'ARC

JEANNE D'ARC

1960–62
BAR

BAR

1960–62
ZIG

ZIG

1960–62
LAW

LAW

1960–62
AHAB

AHAB

1960–62
STAR

STAR

1960–62
WOMB

WOMB

1960–62
CUBA

CUBA

1960–62
ORB

ORB

1960–62
HOLE

HOLE

1960–62
MELVILLE

MELVILLE

1961
BALLYHOO

BALLYHOO

1961
HARDROCK

HARDROCK

1961
SLIP

SLIP

1961
DOWN

DOWN

1962
UP

UP

1962
GRASS

GRASS

1962
FOR

FOR

1962
EAT/DIE

EAT/DIE

1962
HUG

HUG

1962
HUB

HUB

1962
EAT

EAT

1962
CHIEF

CHIEF

1962
DIE

DIE

1962/1984
GEM

GEM

1962/1984
THE X-5

THE X-5

1963
COLUMN LOVE

COLUMN LOVE

1963–64
COLUMN EAT

COLUMN EAT

1963–64
FLAGELLANT

FLAGELLANT

1963/1969
LOVE

LOVE

1964
LOVE

LOVE

1964
THE ELECTRIC EAT

THE ELECTRIC EAT

1964–2007
ONE

ONE

1964–65
TWO

TWO

1964–65
THREE

THREE

1964–65
FOUR

FOUR

1964–65
FIVE

FIVE

1964–65
SEVEN

SEVEN

1964–65
MY MOTHER

MY MOTHER

1964/1998
MY FATHER

MY FATHER

1964/1998
DILLINGER

DILLINGER

1964/1998
CALL ME ISHMAEL

CALL ME ISHMAEL

1964/1998
CALL ME INDIANA

CALL ME INDIANA

1964/1998
BOB'S COLUMN

BOB'S COLUMN

1964/1998
SIX

SIX

1965
EIGHT

EIGHT

1965
NINE

NINE

1965
ZERO

ZERO

1965
ALABAMA

ALABAMA

1965
MODEL T

MODEL T

1966
FLORIDA

FLORIDA

1966
LOVE

LOVE

1966
666

666

1966
LOVE

LOVE

1966–1999
THE ELECTRIC LOVE

THE ELECTRIC LOVE

1966–2000
LOVE WALL

LOVE WALL

1966–2006
LOVE

LOVE

1967
APOGEE

APOGEE

1970
ART

ART

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
ÀI

ÀI

2002
ÀI

ÀI

2002