The “American painter of signs” and one of the preeminent Post-War American artists, Robert Indiana (1928-2018, born Robert Clark) has had a major influence in the development of assemblage art, Pop art, and print works. Drawing on American identity, ordinary experience of daily life, and power of signs and language, Indiana has created an iconic style that function within both public and personal level of a viewer. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Indiana attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he learned printmaking and received his B.F.A in 1954, and the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art.
Indiana uses ordinary language, mundane objects from everyday life, non-art materials, and easily-recognizable logos to shape American identity and elevate and transform the viewer’s daily experience into what is often called and known as “fine art.” Indiana makes use of signs, billboards, and commercial logos, which the viewers might already be familiar with. In his most well-known series LOVE and HOPE – bold in colours and iconic in shapes and message – Indiana uses common language (or, two of the most overused words in our times) and gives personal and political message, and he comments that the work “was a spiritual concept; it isn’t a sculpture of love any longer. It’s become the very theme of love itself.” The simplicity of the sculpture may remind one of Pop art of the 50s, but Indiana makes a criticism on Pop culture and consumerism.
Indiana’s works have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and are in the permanent collections of major American art institutions, including: Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the National Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington D.C.; Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco; Currier Museum of Art, Manchester. Outside the States, Indiana’s works can be found in the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany; the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands; the Museum Ludwig in Vienna, Austria; the Shanghai Art Museum in China; and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.