“The Object of Christian Science: Word, Image, and Spirituality in Robert Indiana”
Thomas, Joe A. “The Object of Christian Science: Word, Image, and Spirituality in Robert Indiana.” On Religions and their Objectivations as seen from Intercultural Perspectives/ Die Religionen und ihre Objektivierungen in der kunst aus interkultureller Perspektive (2013): 255-58.
Robert Indiana, a preeminent American artist of the 20th century, is most widely known for his 1966 painting “LOVE,” which embodies the four capital letters stacked foursquare, with the O canted. His attention to geometry and his use of words and numbers are considered iconic of American culture of the 1960s. Thomas explores the “connections to mysticism, religion and spirituality” (255) in Indiana’s life and art. Indiana grew up attending the Christian Science Sunday School and although he did not continue as an adherent in adulthood, aspects of his religious upbringing still influenced his work strongly. Indiana was also influenced by other more traditional elements and symbols of Christianity, Asian and Native American religions and spirituality, and themes of mysticism in American literature. Thomas adduces several points of congruence between the doctrines of Christian Science and Indiana’s art. Indiana himself is quoted, describing the source of the ‘LOVE’ theme, that Christian Science churches are free of decoration or iconography, but all display prominently the Biblical quotation, “God is Love.” Two years before the LOVE painting, when a collector acquaintance was repurposing a former Christian Science church as a museum, Indiana contributed a painting: “Love is God.”
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