Iconic Robert Indiana ‘Love’ sculpture coming to Milwaukee Art Museum

Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture was on display outside Northwestern Mutual's downtown tower during Sculpture Milwaukee 2018.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:10 pm

Pop artist Robert Indiana’s iconic “LOVE” sculpture will be installed permanently outside of the Milwaukee Art Museum on Milwaukee’s lakefront this spring.

Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture was on display outside Northwestern Mutual’s downtown tower during Sculpture Milwaukee 2018.

An anonymous donor has added the popular sculpture to the art museum’s collection. It was previously on display in front of the Northwestern Mutual tower during Sculpture Milwaukee 2018, a free outdoor urban sculpture display along Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee.

“This piece by Robert Indiana was one of the most popular stops by locals and visitors alike over the summer,” said Marilu Knode, director of exhibitions and programs for Sculpture Milwaukee. “We are so glad the piece will remain in Milwaukee at the museum. Being able to add this work to our community demonstrates the impact that Sculpture Milwaukee can have on the artistic and cultural landscape of the city.”

It will be installed near the museum’s east end patio, facing Lake Michigan, when the ground thaws.

The LOVE sculpture joins several other works by Robert Indiana in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection, including early color screen prints and lithographs, and an important early wood sculpture, the museum said. Indiana also designed the colorful basketball floor for Milwaukee’s MECCA arena in the 1970s.

“Indiana’s work has always connected with Milwaukee,” said Margaret Andera, curator of contemporary art and interim chief curator for the Milwaukee Art Museum. “His design for the MECCA floor in the 1970s is a Milwaukee icon, not just for art lovers. It’s fitting that Milwaukee is now home to the artist’s iconic LOVE sculpture as well.”

Versions of the LOVE sculpture are on display in cities across the United States and worldwide. The original is housed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

The donation to the Milwaukee Art Museum was facilitated by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

“The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is proud to play a role in giving such a beloved work of art a permanent, accessible home in Milwaukee,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and chief executive officer of GMF. “Our donors inspire us every day, and this is a great example of how generous people in our community choose to work with the foundation to make remarkable things happen. Of course, this opportunity is possible due to Steve Marcus’s visionary leadership of Sculpture Milwaukee.”

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