Biography

Robert Indiana (b. 1928) is an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker known for being a prominent Pop artist. Indiana differentiated himself from other pop artists by being a shrewd commentator of American society and for his use of the written word in his work. 

 

Born in Newcastle, Indiana as Robert Clark, Indiana had an unstable childhood and spent most of his adolescence constantly moving. Eventually he settled in Indianapolis, where he finished high school and became involved in their art program. In 1949, after three years serving in the military, Indiana continued his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Skowegan School of Sculpture in Maine, and the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. 

 

In 1954, Indiana moved to New York City where he quickly became involved with a vibrant community of young artists that included Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, James Rosenquist, and Jack Youngerman. This artistic community deeply influenced Indiana's work and his use of striking compositions and bold colors.  In 1964 

Indiana collaborated with Andy Warhol on a short film entitled EAT. Later that year Indiana also designed a twenty-foot flashing electric sign that also featured the word for the central exposition at the 1965 New York World’s Fair. 

 

Indiana quickly gained fame for using short emotionally charged words in his paintings and sculptures. MoMA, in the summer of 1965, commissioned the artist to design their annual Christmas card. The red, blue, and green version of LOVE was selected and the image quickly became one of the most iconic images reproduced in American pop culture. Since then, Indiana’s LOVE has been translated into Spanish and Hebrew while also being reproduced around the world. 

 

Sculptural and two-dimensional works by Indiana have been exhibited and reproduced extensively in the United States and internationally. The Whitney Museum of American Art hosted Indiana’s first ever New York retrospective in 2013, entitled Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE.