There are two well known sculptures by the artist Robert Indiana less than two blocks apart- “Hope” is on the corner of 7th Avenue and 53rd Street and “LOVE red blue” sculpture is just around the corner: at 6th Avenue and 54th street.
Robert Indiana, born Robert Clark, was born in Indiana in 1928. He moved to New York in 1954 and joined the Pop Art movement. Indiana held his first solo exhibit in 1962 at a gallery in New York.
The work of Robert Indiana often consists of bold, simple, iconic images, especially numbers and short words like EAT, HUG. Few Pop images are more widely recognized than Indiana's LOVE.
Robert Indiana's experiment with LOVE started in 1958, when he began playing with poetry, placing the letters "LO" above "VE."In 1961, Indiana painted a canvas in different shades of red that said "LOVE" on the bottom. Three years later Indiana printed grey-scale diamond-shaped painting took with the words "God is Love." According to Indiana, “Although the Love Is God canvas bears no relationship to what now has become a logo, it started me thinking about the subject of love.”
The image with the word "love" was originally designed as a Christmas card and commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art (New York) in 1965.
The artist built the first of many large LOVE sculptures for public display in 1970. It debuted in Boston, then in New York City.
Later LOVE has appeared in prints, paintings, sculptures, banners, rings, tapestries. "Love" was included on an eight-cent postage stamp for the Postal Service on Valentine's Day stamp in 1973, the first of their regular series of "love stamps." Postal Service sold more than 300 million copies and the stamp with the word "Love" became, for many years, the best-selling commemorative stamp in history.
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.
In 1995, Indiana created a 'Heliotherapy Love' series of 300 silk screen prints signed and numbered by the artist, which surrounds the iconic love image in a bright yellow border. These prints are the largest official printed version of the Love image.
In 2008, Robert Indiana created an image similar to LOVE but this time showcasing the word “HOPE”. HOPE suggests light and illuminates a path to a better world. The “O” in HOPE leans forward, propelling us to look forward to the promise of a better, more peaceful future.
Indiana donated all proceeds from the image to the Democratic National Committee for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
International Hope Day was created to aid Indiana in fulfilling his vision of covering the world with HOPE. Each year on the artist’s birthday, September 13, Robert Indiana HOPE sculptures will be installed and displayed in locations throughout the world.
$3 million, 13-foot tall, 3-ton "Hope" was moved to the corner of 7th Ave. and 53rd St. in September 2014.