Highlight: LOVE with a tilted O

You’ve seen the LOVE sculpture at Dhoby Ghaut – right outside the Dhoby Ghaut Fish N Co. But who is the artist behind the sculpture and how did it come about? ArtZine puts on our detective glasses and finds out.

LOVE is a pop art sculpture by Robert Indiana. Indiana’s best known image is the word LOVE , arranged in a square with a tilted letter O. This image, first created for a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1964, was included on an eight-cent United States Postal Service postage stamp in 1973, the first of their regular series of “love stamps.”

Indiana’s work often consists of bold, simple, iconic images, especially numbers and short words like EAT, HUG, and, his best known example, LOVE.

Sculpture versions of the image have been installed at various locations in America.
Here are the locations of Indiana’s ‘love’ outside of America:

  • Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Office district of West Shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan
  • Orchard Road in Singapore
  • Plaza del Sagrado Corazón in Bilbao, Basque Country Spain
  • Outside 1445 West Georgia Street in Vancouver, Canada
  • An Indiana sculpture showing the Hebrew word for love (ahava) is displayed at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel.

Above:LOVE at Philadelphia and the Spanish AMOR at Spain.

Did you know?

The image has been reproduced and parodied countless times in sculptures, posters, and 3-D desk ornaments.

  • PREM – version of LOVE, was spotted at the Ode to Art Gallery! (see above picture)
  • It strongly influenced the original book cover for Erich Segal‘s novel Love Story.
  • A parody appeared on the cover for Oasis‘ single ‘Little by Little’ from the 2002 album Heathen Chemistry.
  • London artist D*Face parodied the image by rendering the word hate with the A tilted.
  • Evan Greenfield updated the sculpture with his sculpture “I’m Lovin’ It”.
  • The sculpture appears in the Xbox expansion of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, which has a stage set in Philadelphia (mainly the LOVE Park), and it is remade as to read “THPS”. The level, complete with the sculpture, is seen again in Tony Hawk’s Underground 2.
  • The LOVE emblem has been adopted by skateboarders and frequently appears in skateboard magazines and videos. After skateboarding was banned in Philadelphia’s LOVE Park (pictured above), the emblem was used by organizations opposing the ban

Above: LOVE in Israel.

ArtZine’s Pokes-and-Questions

What word/s would you consider as iconic? What statement would you like to express using those powerful short words?

Art unites people. LOVE later became an emblem adopted by skateboarders used to oppose the skateboarding ban in Philadelphia’s LOVEpark.

Parodies of LOVE have been made. What do you think of parodies? If your work was parodied or reproduced, how would you feel?

a) Effort and creativity has been poured into making a parody (and a good one too)
b) Parodies bring light to a new layer of the artwork.
c) It is senseless fun.
d) Degrades the original piece.

Enough of short words! Name some iconic images that come to mind. How does it reflect the society? How did it come about? When was it a trend? Is it a recurring trend? Trace the metamorphosis of iconic images and what they look like now.

Then what is iconically Singapore? If you wanted to make a statement about Singapore, what symbol would you use?

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