“Two is just my own personal number. My studio that I lived at, the place that I lived at longest of all in New York was at 2 Spring Street on the Bowery, and it does require two for love, and love has been my greatest preoccupation.” — Robert Indiana
Space, place, and home; love, life, and loss—to Robert Indiana, numbers are intensely personal, tied to physical locations and the memories he associates with them. Born Robert Clark in New Castle, Indiana, his adopted name alludes to the salience of place for him. Indiana has famously credited his enduring interest in numbers to the formative experience of moving multiple times as a child, living in twenty-one different homes by the age of seventeen.
In his colorful “number paintings”, Indiana illustrates that self-representation is far from necessary to accomplish self-reference. With bold use of vibrant color and graphic rendering of text, Indiana simultaneously refers to his own personal history while eliciting a variety of meanings and associations in his viewer.