The classic LOVE sculpture that was on display at the head of Wisconsin Avenue last summer as part of Sculpture MKE will stay in Milwaukee.
The sculpture was given by an anonymous donor, via the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, to the Milwaukee Art Museum, which will install it near the East End patio, facing Lake Michigan, when Old Man Winter moves along and lets the ground thaw.
The work, officially titled "The American Love," features the iconic design created by Indiana, who passed away last May, in the early 1970s.
"Indiana’s work has always connected with Milwaukee," said Margaret Andera, MAM's curator of contemporary art and interim chief curator, in a statement. "His design for the MECCA floor in the 1970s is a Milwaukee icon, not just for art lovers. It's fitting that Milwaukee is now home to the artist's iconic LOVE sculpture, as well.
"We are indebted to the anonymous donor, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Sculpture Milwaukee for their support in bringing this work to the museum."
The work joins a number of other Indiana works in the MAM collection.
"The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is proud to play a role in giving such a beloved work of art a permanent, accessible home in Milwaukee," said Ellen Gilligan, foundation president and CEO, in the press release issued on Thursday afternoon.
"Our donors inspire us every day, and this is a great example of how generous people in our community choose to work with the Foundation to make remarkable things happen. Of course, this opportunity is possible due to Steve Marcus’ visionary leadership of Sculpture Milwaukee."
Specific details on installation dates will be announced closer to spring.
"This piece by Robert Indiana was one of the most popular stops by locals and visitors alike over the summer," said Marilu Knode, director, exhibitions and programs, Sculpture Milwaukee.
"We are so glad the piece will remain in Milwaukee at the Museum. Being able to add this work to our community demonstrates the impact that Sculpture Milwaukee can have on the artistic and cultural landscape of the city."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.