LOVE by Robert Indiana is an enduring piece of Pop Art from the 60s and those big red stacks of letters can be seen in NYC, Philadelphia, Indianapolis and all over the world!
Indiana's simple design--with its tilted O--was originally intended for a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern art. Indiana took a more personal approach to the Pop Art style and he quickly distanced himself from Andy Warhol--with whom he had appeared in Vogue and worked closely for a short time. The image caught on with Hippies and became a popular symbol of the free love movement; it swelled in popularity and Indiana produced more and more works based on his simple arrangement of LO and VE.
The piece remained so popular through the end of the 60s. While the counterculture that had re-appropriated LOVE declined, with peace protests and love-ins all quelled--the image continued on strong with mainstream popularity and Indiana was commissioned to create the famous sculptures that adorn city parks around the world and the United States Postal Service issued a stamp of the original design which proved to be one of the most successful commemorative stamps of all time.
Despite all its popularity though, Indiana found no financial success and was called a sellout by critics and art museums and inspired countless knockoffs and parodies.
LOVE returned to the counterculture in the 90s when Philadelphia banned skateboarding in Love Park--turning it into a ubiquitous form of protest. Rage Against the Machine transformed LOVE into RAGE for their Renegades album cover.
Indiana returned to the mainstream once more to craft HOPE, a sister piece, for the Democratic Party and benefiting the Obama campaign in 2008.