Robert Indiana's Sculptural 'LOVE' Returns to Philadelphia, Descends on Hong Kong

Robert Indiana, LOVE (1966/2002) at Asia Society Hong Kong Centre.
Robert Indiana, LOVE (1966/2002) at Asia Society Hong Kong Centre.
  • Robert Indiana, The Four Diamond Ping (Yellow/Red/Black) (2002) at Asia Society Hong Kong Centre.

    Robert Indiana, The Four Diamond Ping (Yellow/Red/Black) (2002) at Asia Society Hong Kong Centre.

In time for Valentine's Day, Robert Indiana's iconic 'LOVE' sculpture returned to the City of Brotherly Love. The piece was paraded on a flatbed truck around Philadelphia on Tuesday before its reinstallation at John F. Kennedy Plaza, known as LOVE Park, which is undergoing a rehabilitation project. 

The beloved 1976 sculpture has been repainted, possibly to the colors that Indiana originally intended, reports Hyperallergic. For years, the piece was red, green and blue, but now it is red, green and purple.

It seems that the original purple might have faded to a blue over time, resulting in the idea that it was blue inside all along. The most recent restoration of the work brought a new analysis of the first coat of paint, and photographs from Temple University’s archives from 1976 confirmed a purple hue visible on LOVE's installation that year. 

“In 1988 when the sculpture was taken down to be restored, the color codes that the City had for the sculpture resulted in it being painted red, green, and blue,” Public Art Director Margot Berg told Hyperallergic. “The same color codes were used in ’98 as in ’88. The City believed that it had the correct color information for the sculpture. All of the photos and documentation on file showed the sculpture with the light blue color.”

Another 31 pieces by 89-year-old Indiana have also landed in an exhibition at the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre. There are his signature 'LOVE' stacked letters, formed in various languages and hues, shown alone and together. Also, on view is Decade Autoportrait 1962 (1972-77), his autobiography in codes, along with early abstract constructions, when the artist used scavenged objects because he was too poor to buy art supplies.

LOVE Long: Robert Indiana and Asia, is on view at the Chantal Miller Gallery, Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, to July 15.

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