Sneak Peek #3: My LOVE Don't Cost a Thing

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The new Jan/Feb issue hits newsstands this week, and we've got another preview for you. One of my favorite pieces from this issue is on Robert Indiana, the artist behind the LOVE sculptures featured in various cities and the popular postage stamps. Indiana's led a wonderful, and sort of heartbreaking life, and I didn't realize that he made almost no money off the LOVE works -- mainly because of a copyright mistake. Here's just a glimpse at his story:

A LOVE Story

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at 6.10.12 PMAt the helm of the Pop art movement were Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana. The two artists exhibited work together at the same gallery, and one of Warhol's earliest films was a 40-minute movie of Robert Indiana eating a mushroom. They even posed together in a Vogue photo spread, holding their cats. But while Indiana embraced Pop, in many ways the movement didn't suit him. He wasn't interested in the personality cults or media attention that swirled around Warhol, and Indiana shied away from the Factory, Warhol's studio, which was devoted to mass-produced art, sex, drugs, and fame.

Indiana's style was also more intimate and personal than many of his pop peers. His meticulously handcrafted paintings drew more from his turbulent youth than consumer culture. The colors, numbers and shapes in his art symbolized or commemorated events and people from his life. Sadly, these deeper meanings were often lost on his audience. For example, his first public commission "“- a 20-foot-tall, light-studded "EAT" sign for the 1964 New York World's Fair "“- referenced his mother's years working in roadside diners as well as her last words: "Did you have something to eat?" The EAT sign so resembled familiar cafe signage that people flocked to it, assuming it was a restaurant. It wouldn't be the last time that Indiana's work would become popular, but still be misunderstood.
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The story goes on to talk about how he came up with the idea of LOVE, which had a deeply personal meaning, and how the art world criticized and misconstrued it. The piece is really lovely, and it's worth a trip to your friendly neighborhood newsstand. Or better yet, pair the subscription with a brand new mental_floss T-shirt and save yourself some money. Click here for details.

December 14, 2009 - 7:20am
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