Philadelphia Welcomes Pope Francis With Robert Indiana Sculpture

Indiana has called the sculpture a "one-sentence poem."

Robert Indiana, AMOR (1998).

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is planning on giving Pope Francis a big surprise during his visit to the United States.

Yesterday the museum installed AMOR, a 1998 word sculpture that means “love” in the Pope’s native language, on the East Terrace. The six-foot-tall Robert Indiana sculpture will be visible to the public during the papal mass on Sunday, September 27, which over a million people are expected to attend.

Pope Francis.  Photo: Wikipedia.

Pope Francis.
Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Over the past four decades, Indiana’s large-scale word sculptures have become iconic. He created his first LOVE sculpture in 1970, after debuting similarly-themed paintings at New York’s Stable Gallery in 1966 to much acclaim. In 1975, the statue was acquired and publicly displayed outside the Indianapolis Museum of Art. A year later, Philadelphia acquired their own LOVE sculpture, and the park it was placed in has since become known as Love Park.

“[I]t has become the most recognized sculpture in a city known for having one of the largest collections of public art in the country,” said Philadelphia Association for Public Art director Penny Bach in a statement. “Now, with the installation of AMOR, these two iconic sculptures will be in dialogue with one another, anchoring the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in love.”

Indiana created the Spanish variation in response to the changing demographics of the United States, as an expression of his desire to be able to communicate with all people.

The sculpture is on view until January 29, 2016.

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