Artist: Robert Indiana
Location: Kennedy Plaza
In 1976, Robert Indiana was gracious enough to loan his LOVE sculpture to the City of Brotherly Love for the Bicentennial. During the two years the sculpture stood on its pedestal, negotiations for its sale to the city were unsuccessful.
One day, Indiana's agency came by to repossess the work and ship it off to New York, where a potential buyer awaited its arrival (1). Philadelphians were in uproar at the loss of their coveted sculpture. In an Inquirer Editorial, the sculpture's loss was called, "a casualty of appalling City Hall insensitivity to esthetic value." (2)
Luckily for Philadelphia, F. Eugene Dixon, a businessman and the chairman of the Philadelphia Art Commission, paid for the work, and the sculpture was brought back to Philadelphia.
Though Indiana has stated he was "not a sculptor by any means," he has had an obsession with three-dimensional word images (2). LOVE illustrates Indiana's penchant for detail, and it remains Philadelphia's most well known tribute to one of the most powerful words in our language.
(1) Bach, Penny Balkin. "Public Art in Philadelphia." Temple U. Press. Philadelphia. 1992: 242
(2) Brenner, Roslyn F. "Philadelphia's Outdoor Art." Camino Books. Philadelphia. 1987: 24