PHILADELPHIA – Robert Indiana’s celebrated sculpture AMOR (1998) will be moved to a permanent home at Sister Cities Park at 18th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It will be formally dedicated at a ceremony on Friday, December 2nd at 3pm by Sheila Hess, City of Philadelphia Representative, Miriam Enriquez, Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Margot Berg, City of Philadelphia Public Art Director, Timothy Rub, Director, and Gail Harrity, President, of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Simon Salama-Caro, a long-time representative of the artist, Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director of the Association for Public Art, and Paul Levy, President and CEO of the Center City District. In its new setting, AMOR will become a permanent companion piece to Indiana’s iconic LOVE (1976) sculpture at JFK Plaza/LOVE Park.
AMOR came to Philadelphia during the celebration of the 2015 World Meeting of Families and the historic visit by Pope Francis. The word “amor” means “love” in Spanish, the Pope’s native language, and Latin, the language of the Catholic Church.
Robert Indiana originally conceived the celebrated LOVE image in 1965 through a series of paintings, and a year later in 1966, conceived his editions of LOVE sculptures. His masterpiece quickly gained widespread recognition and public acclaim, entering into major private and public collections around the world, including and most significantly the City of Philadelphia. Indiana’s LOVE has become one of the rare icons of modern art that resonate with large and diverse audiences.
Indiana created the Latin/Spanish version of the sculpture, AMOR, in 1998, in response to the changing demographics of the United States and his desire to speak to his fellow citizens. The red and blue 6-foot-high aluminum sculpture has been on loan from the Morgan Art Foundation, through the courtesy of Simon and Marc Salama-Caro, who are dedicated to preserving and promoting Robert Indiana’s artistic legacy.
AMOR was temporarily installed on the East Terrace of the Philadelphia Museum of Art overlooking the public Papal Mass. Its placement at that time was coordinated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in partnership with the Association for Public Art.
“For more than a generation, the artist Robert Indiana has been closely associated with the City of Philadelphia. His famous LOVE sculpture has become such a beloved and enduring icon of our city, just as it has remained emblematic of American pop art,” said Gail Harrity, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “As we celebrate the pairing of AMOR with LOVE today, we can take pride as Philadelphians in knowing that the meaning shared by these works extends across cultures and speaks eloquently to our time. At no place could they be more at home together than in the city of Philadelphia.”
Before leaving office, former Mayor Michael A. Nutter initiated the process to keep AMOR in Philadelphia to commemorate the historic events of 2015. With funding provided by the City of Philadelphia, the Morgan Art Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Mrs. Edith R. Dixon and the Association for Public Art, AMOR, has now been acquired for the City of Philadelphia.
“Robert Indiana’s LOVE has become the most recognized sculpture in a city with one of the largest collections of public art in the United States. With the installation of AMOR at Sister Cities Park, these two sculptures will forever be in dialogue with one another,” said Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Association for Public Art (aPA). “We are excited to have been a part of this extraordinary partnership that ensures that AMOR will delight and inspire future generations.”
The City selected Sister Cities Park for the site because of its high visibility and public accessibility, and because it is directly in view of the LOVE sculpture, which will return from Dilworth Park to the newly-renovated JFK Plaza/Love Park upon the park’s completion in 2017. The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy will be responsible for AMOR’s ongoing care.
“We are honored to be the stewards of AMOR on behalf of the citizens of Philadelphia,” said City of Philadelphia’s Chief Cultural Officer Kelly Lee. “We believe in the positive impact public art can have on Philadelphians’ daily lives and so we hope they will appreciate Robert Indiana’s AMOR as much as they have treasured the LOVE sculpture.”
With Sister Cities Park becoming the new home of AMOR, Center City District CEO Paul Levy spoke on behalf of CCD in welcoming the sculpture to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
“The Center City District welcomes Philadelphia’s newest public sculpture, Robert Indiana’s AMOR to Sister Cities Park”, said Center City District CEO Paul Levy. “To have AMOR in the heart of the Ben Franklin Parkway, in the midst of our museums and across from the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is a fitting tribute to the sculpture. CCD is honored to welcome this iconic work of public art to Sister Cities Park.”
About City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
The mission of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy is to support and promote arts, culture and the creative industries; and to develop partnerships and coordinate efforts that weave arts, culture and creativity into the economic and social fabric of the City. For more information about the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, visit: www.CreativePHL.org, Facebook.com/CreativePHL and on Twitter @CreativePHL and Instagram @CreativePHL.
About The Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is Philadelphia’s art museum. We are a landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.
About The Association for Public Art
The Association for Public Art (aPA, formerly Fairmount Park Art Association) commissions, preserves, promotes and interprets public art in Philadelphia. The aPA is the nation’s first private nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a “Museum Without Walls” that informs, engages, and inspires diverse audiences. We honor the past while supporting originality and innovation, and we advance opportunities for creative people to contribute to the city’s places and spaces. Established in 1872, the aPA integrates public art and urban design through exemplary programs and advocacy efforts that connect people with public art. We respond to the conditions of our time, adding new perspectives to the civic landscape and maintaining a legacy for future generations, while promoting Philadelphia as a premier city for public art. For more information, visit associationforpublicart.org .
About the Artist
Born in 1928, American artist Robert Indiana is among the most universally recognized figures associated with the Pop art movement. His bold images are represented in public and private collections around the world, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art. For more information about Robert Indiana, visit www.robertindiana.com.