The Urban Experience: Philadelphia

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  • Topic: Philadelphia, LOVE Park, City
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  • Published : April 12, 2011
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March 10, 2009
Rose Schmitt
Prof. J.W. Zuggi
The Urban Experience

In the heart of Center City, Philadelphia is the JFK Plaza, which is known to many Philadelphians as LOVE Park. The plaza is the home of The Fairmount Park Welcome Center, a single-spout fountain, and Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture. The plaza serves as a terminal point for The Ben Franklin Parkway and merges it to City Hall. The plaza itself was designed in 1965 by city planners Vincent King and Edmund Bacon as a visitor’s center. The addition of the LOVE statue came later in 1976 as a symbol in celebration of the country’s Bicentennial commemoration[1]. Two years later the statue was removed from JFK Plaza; the same year, the chairmen of the Philadelphia Art Commission, F. E. Dixon, Jr., issued the sculpture to be permanently placed in the park because it was greatly missed[2]. The LOVE statue was a major part of American Pop Culture and remains to be to this day.

Robert Indiana was an American artist that was greatly involved in pop culture. Much of his work focused on bold, simple, and iconic images. He would frequently use numbers and short words in his designs. Indiana's LOVE was first created in 1964 for the Museum of Modern Art as a Christmas card design. The first sculpture was produced and exhibited on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, New York. In 1973, the United States Postal Service used the design on one of their eight cent stamps as the first to an entire series[3]. Today, the LOVE statue and design is numerously replicated around the world for iconic purposes.

The statute’s physical design is a typical form of Robert Indiana’s; a short word with letters stacked on each other, including a slanted “O”. The outside surfaces of the letters are colored a bright red while the inners of the letters are a vibrant blue; I think this was possibly done as a tribute to our nation’s flag. The statue is particularly suitable for its location in Center City...
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