Author: Lisa Marie Patzer
Today is Valentine’s Day, and being highly aware of the controversy surrounding this holiday, I am going to cleverly avoid talking directly about the notion of celebrating romantic love and instead write about one of the most famous works of art at the University of Pennsylvania.
LOVE, gifted by Jeffrey and Sivia Loriato to the University in 1998, was installed on Locust Walk across from Sweeten Alumni House. LOVE is a sculpture by American artist Robert Indiana (born Robert Clark) and is one of several variations of the sculpture Indiana created between 1966 and 1998. The image was originally designed as a Christmas card (I realize I’m stretching the Valentine’s Day connection) for the Museum of Modern Art in 1965.
In the book Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, Judith Hecker states, “Few Pop images are more widely recognized than Indiana’s LOVE. Originally designed as a Christmas card commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art in 1965, LOVE has appeared in prints, paintings, sculptures, banners, rings, tapestries, and stamps. Full of erotic, religious, autobiographical, and political underpinnings—especially when it was co-opted as an emblem of 1960s idealism—LOVE is both accessible and complex in meaning. In printed works, Indiana has rendered LOVE in a variety of colors, compositions, and techniques. He even translated it into Hebrew for a print and a sculpture at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.” (166)
The original sculpture was made of steel and has been on exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art since 1970.
Since 1970, Indiana has created numerous versions of the sculpture both nationally and internationally.
Come visit us at Alumni Sweeten House and see the LOVE sculpture on campus.