Robert Indiana


Honorary Degree (1977)
Doctor of Fine Arts
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: John William Ryan


Robert Indiana is the artist of love who gave the state of love. His heroic LOVE sculpture - can love be heroic? - stands now on the lawns of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. But the images of the love he created appear a million times in a thousand forms throughout the world. He is a native of New Castle who began his career as a student of art at our own John Herron School of Art (1945-46). He continued his studies at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute (1947-48); the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1953) ; the Chicago Art Institute, where he received his bachelor of fine arts degree (1953); and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland (1953-54).

He is a pioneering genius in technique and the mastery of his media. The mind of the man - and his hands - have wrought new styles and manners for the world of art. He has been recognized, acclaimed, and honored by his world.

Robert Indiana exhibitions have been held at the Museum of Modern Art, the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the American Cultural Center in Paris, The Hague's Gemeente Museum, the University of Illinois, the Worcester Art Museum, the White House Festival of Arts, Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum, Stuttgart's Wurttembergischer Kunstverein, the Smithsonian Institute, the 6th Bienniale at San Marion, the Carnegie Institute, the Royal Dublin Society, and Germany's Documenta IV. His one-man shows have been famous events in the world of art: three of them at the Stable Gallery in New York: the Rolf Nelson Gallery in Los Angeles; the Stedelijk van Abbe-museum in Eindhoven, Holland; the Museum Hans Lange in Krefeld, Germany; the Galeria Schmela in Dusseldorf, Germany; the Wurttembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, Germany; the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania; the McNay Institute in San Antonio; and the Herron Art Museum (now the Indianapolis Museum of Art). Among his notable commissions are the inaugural poster for the New York State Theatre in Lincoln Center, and the mural for the New York State Building at the New York World's Fair.

His works are now in the permanent collections of the world's great art museums, among them the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, Fitch College, the Albright-Knox Gallery of Art, the Larry Aldrich Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University, the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Nebraska, the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Von der Heydt Museum in Wuppertal, Germany, the Museum Hans Lange in Krefeld, Germany, the Art Gallery of Toronto, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

He has been a figure of controversy in the world of art, but the world of art today has become a world created in large part by the work and genius of Robert Indiana. He has given this world a state of excellence and a state of love. May we all live as good citizens in the new state of Robert Indiana.