by Brigid Globensky, Senior Director of Education and Programs for the Milwaukee Art Museum
Summer 2019 promises to be a summer of LOVE, with Robert Indiana’s iconic sculpture The American LOVE coming to the lakefront to join the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Collection, thanks to the gift of an anonymous donor through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.
The sculpture was previously on display during Sculpture Milwaukee 2018, in front of the Northwestern Mutual Building on Wisconsin Avenue.
“This piece by Robert Indiana was one of the most popular stops by locals and visitors alike over the summer,” said Marilu Knode, director, exhibitions and programs, Sculpture Milwaukee. “We are so glad the piece will remain in Milwaukee, at the Museum. Being able to add this work to our community demonstrates the impact that Sculpture Milwaukee can have on the artistic and cultural landscape of the city.”
American LOVE joins a number of works by Robert Indiana in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Collection, including early color screen prints and lithographs, and an important early wood sculpture. Indiana, himself, is no stranger to Milwaukee. In the 1970s, he designed and painted the basketball floor inside the MECCA Arena. It became a city icon, not just for art lovers.
“Indiana’s work has always connected with Milwaukee. It's fitting that our city is now home to the artist's iconic LOVE sculpture as well,” said Margaret Andera, curator of contemporary art and interim chief curator, Milwaukee Art Museum. “We are indebted to the anonymous donor, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and Sculpture Milwaukee for their support in bringing this work to the Museum.”
The sculpture will be installed near the Milwaukee Art Museum’s East End patio, facing Lake Michigan, when the ground thaws in the spring.
“The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is proud to play a role in giving such a beloved work of art a permanent, accessible home in Milwaukee,” said Ellen Gilligan, Foundation president and CEO. “Our donors inspire us every day, and this is a great example of how generous people in our community choose to work with the Foundation to make remarkable things happen. Of course, this opportunity is possible due to Steve Marcus’s visionary leadership of Sculpture Milwaukee.
Throughout the summer, the Museum is hosting events to celebrate the installation and allow visitors to enjoy this addition to the lakefront, including live music on the East End patio and opportunities for families and couples to pose with the iconic work. In the years to come, American LOVE will hopefully become a magnet for anyone wanting to commemorate special events—from a first date or engagement party, to the Fourth of July celebration at the lakefront. But no matter when you wander by, the work acts as a striking visual reminder that “all you need is LOVE.