it’s 925 miles from the corner of sixth avenue and west 55th street, but it displaced me in an instant. there i was – back sometime in the 70’s, in new york city, seeing robert indiana’s love sculpture for the first time. i loved love then. i love love now. (could that be any more redundant?!)
a part of sculpture milwaukee in 2018, this sculpture has returned and was permanently installed at the milwaukee art museum in 2019. we saw it for the first time last week. life and covid interrupted our visits to mam. we were really happy to be back. seeing love out the window facing lake michigan’s lakefront was the icing on the cake.
there are nearly fifty of these sculptures around the world. people travel far and wide to have their photographs taken next to the iconic stacked word. it became a u.s. postal stamp in 1973. it has big history. its artist has big history.
the success of this giant – yet simple – sculpture begs questions for me: what musical gesture might be equivalent to this sculpture? what rhythmic or melodic motif has this kind of powerful impact? googling these questions produces a plethora of suggested lists – everything from classical to motown to the beatles and beyond. i suppose it’s a truly personal thing.
any listener of albinoni’s adagio in g minor or j.s. bach’s air on the g string or arvo pärt’s spiegel im spiegel or ennio morricone’s gabriel’s oboe or john denver’s annie song or leonard cohen’s hallelujah or carole king’s you’ve got a friend or aretha’s r-e-s-p-e-c-t or the beatles’ here comes the sun or, for that matter, eldar kedem’s you and i or any piece composed and played or sung by giant artists or tiny independent artists …. any listener of anything arrives at the place of listening – the dropped-down-out-of-the-universe of their own world – individually. we tote along with us our lives-at-the-moment, our busy schedules, our worries, our longings, color and breath and heart, a distinctively different set of ears. we hear and we listen and we are transported by music to worlds away, places and times stored up, a chorus of commentators in us telling silent stories in viewmaster snippets, our hearts grasping the filmy tails of memories. impact. giant impact.
the love sculpture means something different to everyone who poses in front of it; every person’s story has different details, a different emotional spectrum. how we connect to this emotive piece depends largely on where we are when we visit with it, what we bring to it, how open we are to its energy.
the love sculpture stands outside the museum and i know that each time we now visit, it will demand our time as well. we will stand and gaze and visit with it. and we’ll keep loving it. it’s simple. it’s that kind of piece.
read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY
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