“This painting celebrates the year 1961. I had my studio in South Ferry, which is synonymous with Coenties Slip. Now the Chicago, I think that in these paintings what I was also doing was slipping decades. In other words ten years before, in 1951, I was in Chicago, and I like the word Chicago and I spent four years there and so loosely speaking this gave me an excuse to use the word Chicago.
But the more significant relationship to ’61 is the word Bar, and of course the word Bar, the second R is slipping under the 1, and it was in 1961 that Alfred Barr [director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York] encountered my first American Dream and that was probably the, one of the most important events in my life.
The colors, I think I feel that these are celebratory for me. I was just celebrating the, as I said, one of the most important years and events of my life.”
— Robert Indiana
Excerpt from Susan Elizabeth Ryan, Ph. D. Interview with Robert Indiana. May 5, 1992. Robert Indiana: Figures of Speech Archive, 1987–2005.