For Robert Indiana, the former sign painter most widely known for the enduring piece of Vietnam War-era pop art “LOVE” and the Obama-campaign visual “HOPE,” the operative word is “NOW.”
Indiana, who will celebrate his 85th birthday on Sept. 13, is having a moment.
The renowned American painter, sculptor and printmaker will soon be the subject of a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and another at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. But the wave of attention also extends to South Florida, where Indiana’s more recent work will be honored at Rosenbaum Contemporary gallery in Boca Raton.
“Voices of HOPE: Celebrating Robert Indiana” is an exhibit opening Wednesday, Sept. 11, in the Rosenbaum gallery’s new space on Yamato Road. It will include 25 to 30 works created by Indiana since 2009 and will run through May 30, dates that coincide with those of the Whitney show.
For gallery president Howard Rosenbaum, the decision to acknowledge the Whitney exhibit was important.
“He’s having an amazing moment,” Rosenbaum says of his friend. “He’s waited his whole life to have that show in New York.”
Rosenbaum is no stranger to selling Indiana works, and has been so successful that the artist’s management team asked Rosenbaum Contemporary to be an exclusive worldwide distributor of Indiana’s late-career art. The “Voices of HOPE” exhibit will include pieces just created by the painter, who lives off the coast of Maine in a building called Star of Hope.
The original “HOPE” that Indiana made for the 2008 Democratic National Convention is currently on display at the Boca Museum of Art, and the museum is providing free admission this month to anyone with a copy of the Rosenbaum Contemporary invitation (available at the gallery).
“His genius was focusing on these words, four simple letters, and making them into symbols that the whole world could recognize,” Rosenbaum says from the gallery, as he and Daniella Sforza were busy curating the show.
Also symbolic is the date of the opening reception: The logistical issues Rosenbaum had to work around for the debut were complicated by the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The best date to open “Voices of Hope” turned out to be Sept. 11.
“It’s pretty amazing. One reason Robert created ‘HOPE’ was there was so much tragedy in the world,” Rosenbaum says. “Things have a way of working themselves out, don’t they?”
VOICES OF HOPE: CELEBRATING ROBERT INDIANA
When: Opening reception 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11 (RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 561-994-9180)
Where: Rosenbaum Contemporary gallery, 150 Yamato Road, Boca Raton
Contact: 561-994-4422 or RosenbaumContemporary.com