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Installation view of Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective

Installation view of Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective. From left: Decade: Autoportrait 1961, 1972–77; Two, 1960–62 (cast 1991); THREE from ONE through ZERO, 1978–2003; Four, 1962; Five, 1984; The Demuth American Dream No. 5, 1963; and The American Dream, 1992 (cast 2016). Photograph by Tom Powel Imaging. © Morgan Art Foundation Ltd / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

Exhibition Spotlight: Numbers in Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective

July 18, 2018

Along with words, most notably “love,” numbers are one of the most frequently reoccurring motifs in the art of Robert Indiana. According to the artist, his fascination with numbers stemmed from an itinerant childhood in which he lived in twenty-one houses by the time he was seventeen.

Installation view of Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective

Installation view of Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective. From left: ONE from ONE through ZERO, 1978–2003; detail of Two, 1960–62 (cast 1991); and detail of Exploding Numbers, 1964–66. Photograph by Tom Powel Imaging. © Morgan Art Foundation Ltd / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

Indiana first took on numbers as an artistic subject in a series of paintings in 1965, at which time he assigned each number a specific color scheme. He later wrote, “The color choices were based upon chromatic associations with the ten stages of man’s life.” Indiana’s number series begin with one, birth, and end with zero, “standing in for ten, but fully representing death.” 

Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective will be on view through September 23.

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