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backstory50: Robert Indiana’s “Art” (fronted by a follow-up about uric acid)

So, last week’s backstory50 got a LOT of raised eyebrows.

I kind of thought it might. 

First, I want to say that I really do love how passionate folks are about the Henry Moore. Next, I want to say that I wish what I wrote about last week wasn’t true… but it is.  Though some artists have actually used uric acid—their own—to add patina to their work (Ick — but also true), outdoor sculpture is vulnerable to pranks, rites-of-passage (as I’ve seen some of you in relation to the post last week refer to certain acts), and, unfortunately, ill intent.

So here’s a question: Since Moore’s Large Two Forms can’t go back where it was because there’s a giant building in the way now, where would you most like to see it if I could raise the funds to move it?  Write back to let me know. 

Then, continuing the theme of outdoor repair and sculpture restoration, here’s another favorite…

One of the most loved objects in our collection is Robert Indiana’s ART, acquired by the Neuberger with a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and additional support from the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art. Not perhaps as signature as the Moore, I’ve still seen photos of the work posted that include young kids sitting inside of it (cute, but please don’t sit on the outdoor sculpture :-) ), artwork made inside of it (art inside of ART), and more.  It’s no wonder that ART was due for some conservation.

So, a few months ago, we worked with our colleagues at Lippincott Sculpture LLC in collaboration with Versteeg Art Fabricators to restore the Indiana. It’s now back on view in our Center Courtyard for The Making of the Museum: 50 Years.

Indiana long worked with our colleagues at Lippincott. In fact they assembled the sculpture at the front door of the Neuberger when it first arrived in 1976.  See historical images of the object here (.pdf) and in the video below—along with a few photos from its most recent conservation.

Tracy Fitzpatrick
Director, Neuberger Museum of Art

P.S. In addition to ART (the sculpture), a related print entitled The Neuberger ART (1975) is also on view in The Making of the Museum: 50 Years exhibition.

Orange square with a white border and large numbers 50 with small letters neu overlapping the top of the 5 and the word Years beneath

Watch for a new backstory every Wednesday and follow us on social media as we share stories about the Museum’s history, our evolution to the present day, and look ahead to our exciting future. Stay up-to-date with the latest news and “NEU 50 Years” updates on our anniversary webpage.