“Early totem-like constructions, called herms, evolved from the debris of Lower Manhattan demolition – heavy wooden headers, notched and mortised and adorned with star-shaped metal heads of tie-rods. Adapted from the ancient Greek statue in the form of a square stone pillar surmounted by a bust or a head, these were conceived by Indiana as companions to his paintings (e.g. Ahab to the Melville Triptych). Singly, each represents the transformation of a found object into an art from unburdened by social or literary implications. In groupings they can appear to be startlingly human. Indiana admits that “. . . during the lonely times, they gave me comfort in the absence of any family around me.”
Martin Dibner, “Introduction,” in Marius B. Péladeau and Martin Dibner. Indiana’s Indianas: A Twenty-Year Retrospective of Paintings and Sculpture from the Collection of Robert Indiana. Rockland, Maine: William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, 1982.