Robert Indiana biography




Robert Indiana, born Robert Clark on September 13, 1928 in New Castle, Indiana, was an American artist associated with the Pop Art movement. Since the 1960s, Indiana has played a central role in the development of assemblage, hard-edge, and pop art, becoming one of the preeminent figures in American art.

Since his childhood, Robert Indiana demonstrates obvious artistic talent, encouraged by a first-grade teacher who pushes him to pursue an artistic career. After attending Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Indiana he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, at the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in Maine and at Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland.

In 1956, he moved to New York, where he met Ellsworth Kelly and settled in Coenties Slip, a community of artists that included Kelly, Agnes Martin, James Rosenquist and Jack Youngerman. The environment of Coenties Slip had a profound impact on the artist's work, and he began to create works that incorporated words and numbers, inspired by materials found in abandoned warehouses in the area. Indiana's works often feature bold, iconic images, such as numbers and short words like EAT, HUG and LOVE.

His best-known work is undoubtedly the word LOVE , which was first created in 1964 for a Christmas card from the Museum of Modern Art . This image has become an icon of modern art and has been reproduced on postage stamps and countless products. Robert Indiana distinguished himself from other pop artists by addressing important social and political issues and incorporating historical and literary references into his works. He explored the illusory American dream, using words and numbers to create connections and perceptions in the viewer's mind. His works are characterized by symmetrical geometric shapes and bright colors, which recall the influences of advertising and mass media.

In addition to painting and sculpture, Robert Indiana created a significant number of prints, also collaborating with the poet Robert Creeley. He worked as a theater set and costume designer, contributing to the production of Virgil Thomson's The Mother of Us All in 1976.

In 1978, he decided to step away from the New York art world and moved to the remote island of Vinalhaven in Maine, where he continued to create works inspired by his new surroundings. He worked on a series of paintings inspired by the paintings of artist Marsden Hartley, who lived on the island in 1938.

Indiana's works have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world, and many of them are part of the permanent collections of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco.

Robert Indiana died on May 19, 2018 at his Vinalhaven home, shortly before the opening of his sculpture retrospective at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. His legacy as one of the protagonists of American Pop Art and his ability to create works that explore American identity and the power of language continue to have a lasting impact on contemporary art.