LOVE Conservation Project

    After two months of conservation treatment, Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture is back on display in a new location inside the IMA galleries. Completed in 1970 and accepted as the original version of Indiana’s LOVE sculptures, the beloved icon now welcomes guests as they enter the Pulliam Family Great Hall.

    LOVE was removed from outdoor display in January 2017 to undergo critical conservation treatment. The IMA worked with outdoor sculpture conservation expert Abigail Mack and Alfred Lippincott, a representative from the company that originally fabricated the piece, to develop a conservation plan for the sculpture. Videos below detail the deterioration of the sculpture and conservation process.

    The conservation is supported by the James LaCrosse Family.

    Videos

    Image Gallery

    Press Release

    Press Release

    Timeline

    A Legacy of LOVE

    1970
    - LOVE sculpture was fabricated at Lippincott, Inc. out of Cor-Ten steel and completed in May.
    - Arrived at the IMA as a loan on September 17.
    - LOVE first publicly exhibited as part of Seven Outside, the inaugural exhibition at the new 38th and Michigan Road location of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (October 25, 1970 through January 3, 1971).

    1971
    - LOVE traveled to Boston, where it was a focal point of the exhibition Monumental Sculpture for Public Spaces organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, and shown at the Boston City Hall Plaza from October 2 through November 7.
    - Appeared in an L.S. Ayres department store ad, featuring the IMA building in background, in September.
    - Loaned to New York City, where it was displayed in Central Park from November 29, 1971 through January 5, 1972.

    1972
    - Returned to Indianapolis and displayed in front of the Indiana National Bank of Indianapolis from February 14 through March 25.
    - LOVE was put back on display at the IMA on the plaza level of Krannert Pavilion on August 23.

    1974
    - Loaned to Eli Lilly & Company in June, where it was filmed as part of the backdrop for a television commercial at the McCarty Street Plant.

    1975
    - IMA officially acquired LOVE. The purchase was made possible through many donations given in memory of Henry F. DeBoest.
    - Official dedication ceremony for LOVE at the IMA on October 22, 1975. Robert Indiana was in attendance.

    1988
    - Moved from Krannert Pavilion Plaza (Alliance Sculpture Court today) to a spot northeast of Krannert Pavilion—a safer location during the construction of the Hulman Pavilion and renovation of Krannert.

    1990
    - Protective ground covering extended and iron fence around LOVE removed.

    1992
    - “LOVE planning team” established, including conservator Helene Gillette-Woodard, Martin Radecki, various engineers, and Robert Indiana.

    1993
    - Maintenance report notes further corrosion expansion among seam of all three components.

    1995
    - Meeting to discuss the future of the LOVE sculpture.

    1996
    - Consulting meetings in May with Tallix engineers focused on potential approaches to Cor-Ten treatment. Meeting established two potential and contrasting treatment methods: “venting” vs. “sealing.” Opted for “sealing”.
    - Tallix engineers expressed concern that remedial welding method might only work on select areas.

    2002
    - De-installation of LOVE for treatment at Tallix.

    2005
    - LOVE arrives back at the IMA and is placed outside for display in January.
    - Dismantled and moved indoors to new location in Pulliam Family Great Hall in June.

    2006
    - LOVE dismantled for sandblasting in June, prior to move outdoors. June was chosen because it was a dry month to move LOVE back outside.

    2017
    - LOVE will undergo conservation treatment and move indoors for display.

    Image Credits

    Robert Indiana (American, b. 1928), LOVE, 1970, Cor-ten steel, 144 × 144 × 72 in. Indianapolis Museum of Art, Gift of the Friends of the Indianapolis Museum of Art in memory of Henry F. DeBoest. Restoration was made possible by Patricia J. and James E. LaCrosse, 75.174 © 2016 Morgan Art Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Sol LeWitt (American, 1928–2007), //Wall Drawing No. 652//, Continuous Forms With Color Acrylic Washes Superimposed, 1990, acrylic wash on wall, 30 x 60 ft. Indianapolis Museum of Art, Gift of the Dudley Sutphin Family, 1990.40 © 2017 The LeWitt Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.