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September 27, 2012

Robert Indiana print retrospective to premiere at the IMA

INDIANAPOLIS — The first print retrospective of Robert Indiana's graphic work in more than 40 years will premiere in the state whose name he adopted as his own.

On view beginning in May at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, "The Essential Robert Indiana" will re-affirm the artist's role as one of the premiere printmakers in modern art and demonstrate the importance of his graphic works in the context of his larger career. The first touring retrospective of Indiana's graphic work since 1969, the exhibition will feature more than 50 works - including 20 from the IMA's own collection. On view from May 24 through Aug. 18, 2013, The Essential Robert Indiana is organized with the active participation of the artist, presenting a uniquely autobiographical approach to Indiana's work that has never before been explored in-depth.

"The IMA was the first museum Robert Indiana ever knew and is one of the leading museums with a depth of holdings in his work, so this exhibition represents a homecoming for the artist on many levels," said Martin Krause, exhibition curator and curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the IMA. "This exhibition will feature Indiana's most complex, self-referential, and autobiographical images, revealing new insights about the artist's inspiration for many of these works."

The Essential Robert Indiana explores the stories behind many of Indiana's most iconic works for the first time, using material drawn from extensive oral and video interviews with the artist to uncover new meanings and complexities. The 57 prints featured in the exhibition include his "American Dream" series and his homages to such painters as Picasso, Charles Demuth, and Marsden Hartley. The exhibition will also include several examples of Indiana's famed "LOVE,"  an image that began as a Christmas card design and morphed into the most recognizable of Indiana's images - and one of the most iconic images in the history of American art. While Indiana's "LOVE" has taken many forms, the most common colors used are red, green, and blue, inspired by the colors of the Phillips 66 gasoline station signs, the company for which his father worked in the 1930s, and the blue of the Hoosier sky. The exhibition will also feature 21 "autoportraits" made by the artist over the course of his career that use symbols and forms related directly to his location, sources of inspiration, and state of mind at the time they were made.

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