The Electric American Dream (EAT/DIE/HUG/ERR) is a continuation of Indiana’s electric works, which include EAT (1964), created for the 1964 World’s Fair, The Electric EAT (1964–2007), and The Electric LOVE (1966–2000). It incorporates four of the short, one syllable words found throughout his oeuvre, both in his sculptures and paintings. The words “eat” and “die” began to appear in Indiana’s paintings in 1962, stemming from the fact that the last word his mother said before she died was eat. Indiana then thought of the supplementary idea of “hug” and “err,” explaining that he couldn’t go on doing “eat” and “die” forever, and that “’Hug’ was a family word for giving affection and so forth, and so it began to suggest covering some of the more formal aspects of life—existence and love and survival and sin and what have you.” 
The four words first appeared together in 1963, in the paintings The Demuth American Dream No. 5, The Demuth Five, and The Figure 5. Although the words appear in different combinations in a series of columns from 1964, the first time they all appeared together in a sculpture was in 1992, in the herm The American Dream.
 William Peterson and Bob Tomlinson, “Robert Indiana,” Artspace 1 (Fall 1976), p. 6.