Thursday, February 10, 2011


Just when you thought the holidays were over, one of the most notorious (depending on whether you're single or not) sneaks up and bites you in the ass.

Honoring the martyrdom of Saint Valentine, this weekend will be spent securing last minute reservations at the Olive Garden, scouring the shelves of CVS for the lone remaining Whitman's Sampler, and undoubtedly sending hundreds of bitter, awkward, or simply lazy e-cards.

What's certain is that on Monday, JFK Plaza will be transformed into a sea of red, with huddled lovers posing in the cold in front of Robert Indiana's famed LOVE sculpture.

Indiana's famous sculpture first found itself at the plaza as part of Philadelphia's United States Bicentennial celebration. Although removed two years later, Philadelphia Art Commissioner Euguene Dixon, Jr. was urged by popular demand to return the sculpture as a permanent fixture in what is now commonly referred to as LOVE Park.

Although LOVE Park is probably one of the most widely known locations for the famous sculpture, it wasn't the first and certainly not the only. Robert Indiana's first LOVE was shown on a Christmas card created for New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1964. The first three-dimensional LOVE sculpture was exhibited in New York City in 1970. It was moved to the Indianapolis Museum of Art five years later and has been on display there ever since.

Three years before it was first placed in Philadelphia's JFK Plaza, it appeared on an 8 cent stamp in 1973, perhaps one of the most iconic images ever to be produced by the United States Post Office.

The sculpture has been reproduced in Chinese, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish. With its presence around the globe, Philadelphia is proudly home to two. Another LOVE sculpture can be found on the University of Pennsylvania's campus.

The image has been the source of parodies, many political. Advocates, both for and against the Obama campaign, used the image substituting the original "LOVE" with the words "HOPE" and "NOPE". Stickers from the campaigns can still be found around the city.

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