In Arts & Entertainment

Robert Indiana's LOVE will be on display from June to Oct. 21 as part of Sculpture Milwaukee. (PHOTO: Wikipedia)

Wisconsin Ave. gets some LOVE from Robert Indiana, thanks to Sculpture Milwaukee

A little more love is coming to Wisconsin Avenue. Following in the footsteps of last year's success, Sculpture Milwaukee is back and bringing artist Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE series Downtown.

LOVE, 1966-2000 will be installed on Friday outside Northwestern Mutual's Tower and Commons and on view from June to Oct. 21 as part of Sculpture Milwaukee, the free and popular outdoor urban art experience that launched last year. The text-based work, created for the 1965 Museum of Modern Art Christmas card, was immortalized in a U.S Postal Service stamp in 1973.

"We're thrilled to bring Robert Indiana's work to the 2018 installation," Marilu Knode, project director for Sculpture Milwaukee, said in a statement. "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 Milwaukeeans know Indiana as the artist who painted the famous basketball floor of the old MECCA arena. Steve Marcus, founder of Sculpture Milwaukee and the chairman of the MECCA board at the time, advocated for hiring Indiana to paint the court as a way to make the city stand out on the national sports landscape. Indiana's floor did not make the move to the Bradley Center, but the current Bucks owners are looking to restore the work to a permanent location in Milwaukee.

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

According to a news release, Indiana's 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," it said. "This emotionally generous and accessible body of work requires us to live up to its simple message of love."

LOVE, 1966-2000 is on loan courtesy of the artist and the Paul Kasmin Gallery.

Sculpture Milwaukee debuted last year up and down Wisconsin Avenue and was very well-received. Installation of the 21 works by 22 artists in 2018 will begin on May 10. All of the pieces, except for one borrowed from a private collection, are available for purchase with a percentage of each sale going toward Sculpture Milwaukee's future installations. Tours, workshops and "avenue activation" activities will be held throughout the summer and fall. Additional info on Sculpture Milwaukee 2018 can be found at www.sculpturemilwaukee.com.

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