Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art

Marietta, GA



Robert Indiana: Love and the American Dream


The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art will present the exhibition "Robert Indiana: Love and the American Dream" from Tuesday, November 23, 1999 through Sunday, January 30, 2000.

The Robert Indiana major retrospective features sixty works in painting, sculpture, and graphics, including the signature icon image "L O V E" postage stamp series. A curious and coincidental connection exists between the "LOVE" U. S. postage stamp and the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art building which first opened in 1909 as the United States Post Office serving Cobb County for 63 years. (left: LOVE, USPS stamp, 1976-77)

One of the major "Pop" artists, the Indiana exhibition presents the two major themes of his career - the American Dream and Love - which engage many different facets of American life during the 20th century. These concepts are parallel yet separate, intertwined yet engaged with a search for cultural and personal identity.

Featured in the exhibition are Indiana's Beware-Danger American Dream No. 4 (1963) oil on canvas and LOVE(1967) aluminum sculpture on loan from the Hirshhorn Museum and The Figure Five (1963) oil on canvas from the National Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institution. (left: The Figure Five ,1963)

"For a number of years I had hoped to organize a major Indiana retrospective," explained director Alexander Gaudieri. "When I arrived here last January, one of the first calls I made was to Robert Indiana to explore this possibility. He told me that the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art was already organizing such an exhibition. I immediately phoned the director of the Portland Museum, Daniel P. O'Leary, to inquire about our having the exhibition here. It all worked out and here we are!" (right: Beware-Danger American Dream No. 4, 1963)

The American Dream has both positive and negative sides - a chance of self-improvement or an empty promise of riches. The image of Love, created by Indiana in the mid-1960s, has been seen alternatively as counter-culture and as mainstream, idealistic and commercial, high art and low culture, a symbol of power and of folly. This exhibition brings Robert Indiana's icons and ideas into focus, uniting concepts that have preoccupied the self-designated "people's painter" and "American painter of signs" for decades. (left: American Love, 1968)

"This exhibition has already had major repercussions in the art world nationally," director Gaudieri continued. "Two substantial articles on Indiana have appeared in The New York Times. The Whitney Museum of American Art is featuring LOVE (1966) as one of its signature paintings in its current 20th-century retrospective exhibition "The American Century Part II 1950 - 2000." This is one of the most significant endeavors that our museum has ever undertaken. We are delighted that the exhibition has been sponsored by the Anncox Foundation, Inc. with additional support from Moore, Ingram, Johnson and Steele." (right: Sweet Mystery, 1960-61)

Now making his home in Vinalhaven, an island off the coast of Maine, Robert Indiana, in his life and his art, has come full circle. Robert Indiana is the paragon of the Dream. And the question remains: Who determines the validity or failure of the Dream? Alfred H. Barr, the late founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, called The American Dream "spellbinding." "I do not know why I like it so much," he said. Indiana himself points out that the real impact lies exactly in the interplay between strong, even disparate, visual - verbal qualities. (left: LOVE, sculpture)

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rev. 11/22/10

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