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Wisconsin Avenue gets some LOVE with iconic sculpture by the late Robert Indiana

Sculpture Milwaukee added more LOVE to Wisconsin Avenue on May 25 with the installation of the icon work by Robert Indiana, which came less than week after the famous pop artist dіеd at his secluded island home off the coast of Maine.

“LOVE, 1966-1999” is a featured installation in the 2018 Sculpture Milwaukee program that has brought a free outdoor urban art experience to downtown Milwaukee for the second year. Indiana’s endearing image of LOVE is instantly recognizable around the world, and will be on display outside Northwestern Mutual’s Tower and Commons until October 21.

“We’re thrilled to bring Robert Indiana’s work to the 2018 installation,” said Marilu Knode, project director for Sculpture Milwaukee. “Indiana has had a long affinity with the city and I’m certain Milwaukeeans will be delighted to see his work in the public realm again.”

Many in Milwaukee will remember Indiana’s massive painting for the former MECCA Arena. Steve Marcus, founder of Sculpture Milwaukee and chairman of the MECCA board at the time, along with gallerist Judith Posner championed the hiring of Robert Indiana to paint the court as a way to make Milwaukee pop for the national basketball crowd.

Indiana’s celebrated floor did not make the move to the Bradley Center in 1988, however, and was saved from destruction in 2010 by Greg Koller. The current owners of the MECCA floor are looking to restore the work to a permanent location in Milwaukee.

As part of the 1960s pop art generation, inspired by American post-war prosperity and the rise of modern advertising, Robert Indiana helped provide an important visual backdrop to the cultural upheaval of his time. His paintings and assemblages incorporated words and letters that evoked both Madison Avenue and Main Street, providing subtle commentary on changing social relations in the country.

Indiana dіеd on May 19 from respiratory failure at his home in a converted fraternal order lodge on Vinalhaven Island, at the age of 89. His LOVE series features simple words with endless meanings and implications. The bold graphic style of the lettering is part of the artist’s appropriation of advertising, giving this particular work a flavorful punch.

The emotionally generous and accessible body of work has given the public encouragement to follow a simple message of love. LOVE, 1966-1999 is on loan courtesy of the Paul Kasmin Gallery.

The original installation of LOVE was set for May 10, but it was delayed due to weather. All of the 21 art works by 22 artists, with the exception of one borrowed from a private collection, along Wisconsin Avenue are available for purchase.

A percentage of each sale will go toward Sculpture Milwaukee’s future installations. The program ill also include an extensive range of tours, hands-on workshops, and additional “avenue activation” activities to be held throughout the summer and fall.

About The Author

Lee Matz

Former Creative Director and Photojournalist for the Milwaukee Business Journal, Lee brings his years of international experience as an award-winning foreign correspondent in Asia and Europe. Lee proudly uses MCTS as the exclusive mode of transportation for covering all his news reports.

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