Love is in the air in London. Well at least in the East End as part of Sculpture in the City where you can see Robert Indiana’s famous LOVE sculpture adorning the corner of 99 Bishopsgate.
In 1958, Robert Indiana was experimenting with LOVE as he played with poetry and art by placing the “LO” above the “VE”. Then in 1964, he was commissioned to create a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) that become one of its most popular items. Following the card’s success, he started exhibiting his art and sculptures in the “LOVE show” in New York. It would became an icon in the 60s with Hippies symbolizing free Love and Peace. Little did they know that Indiana’s tilted “O” actually represented a cat’s eye or an erect phallus.
Unfortunately Indiana never copyrighted his LOVE letters because he didn’t want to disrupt his initial design with his signature or a copyright symbol. This would eventually mean he had no legal protection against imitators and would receive hardly any financial compensation as his image was copied in everything and anything. The United States Postal Service even reproduced his design for a special 8 cent Valentine’s stamp in 1973 that would go on to sell over 3oo million copies. Eventually he would obtain the rights for some of his work as his style continues to be used today in popular media forms like album covers for Rage Against the Machine and Oasis. LOVE sculptures are now displayed on streets and in parks around the world. Originally created in English, there are now versions in Hebrew, Chinese, Italian and Spanish.
And now London has its own LOVE sculpture. You can see it on the streets of East London at the site of the 1993 IRA bomb. But be quick as its only there until May 2014.
Love Scultpure 99 Bishopsgate, East London