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The Daily Plant : Tuesday, February 18, 2003

IT'S AS EASY AS 1, 2, 3

There are four wheels on a Parks & Recreation garbage truck. Central Park's Balto statue has two ears on his head. There's one sun in the sky. And (for the next few months) if you walk along Manhattan's Park Avenue between 60th and 70th Street, you will count 10 large, colorful numerals standing on the malls, courtesy of C & M Arts and the Paul Kasmin Gallery, in collaboration with the Fund for Park Avenue. The sculpture series is titled, "One Through Zero" and the numbers' artist is named Robert Indiana. Robert Indiana, in case you don't remember, invented love. Not love itself, but in the 1960s Indiana created an image of the word LOVE that became a widely reproduced and recognizable pop art image.

Born in New Castle, Indiana, in 1928 as Robert Clark, Robert Indiana trained academically as an artist before moving to New York City in the mid-1950s. His images, which often involve letters and numbers, reflect his intuitive gift for color palettes and his fascination with street signs and advertisements. "There are more signs than trees in America," Indiana said in an interview published this past December in The New York Times Magazine. "There are more signs than leaves. So I think of myself as a painter of American landscape." Following Indiana's logic, then, the installation of his colorful numbers along Park Avenue creates a fusion of two landscapes. It also helps introduce children to counting, as many parents walking their children along Park Avenue have been seen doing.

"One Through Zero" comprises ten brightly colored numerals standing 6-feet-tall made of polychromed aluminum. They refer to the stages of life. The series begins at one, when a person is in their infancy. As the numbers increase, the colors do as well. The last of the numbers, a colorless zero, signifies death.

Of the current installation, Indiana has said, "It is always the fulfillment of an artist's dream to present his work to a greatly varied and diverse audience, and there is no better showcase for sculpture in the City of New York than Park Avenue. I greatly admire The Fund for Park Avenue's work on behalf of the arts, as well as that of the Department of Parks & Recreation, and I'm enormously pleased to have ‘One Through Zero’ installed during the time of my return-to-New York gallery exhibitions in February. It is the icing on the cake." In fact, the icing might also be the snow drifts that have settled on the numbers during the recent snow storms and created yet another way of viewing the works.

"Robert Indiana is an artist of world renown who lived in New York City for many years, and his sculpture is a perfect fit for the Park Avenue malls," says Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Parks & Recreation is committed to bringing art to its open green spaces for all to enjoy." Indeed, another piece of temporary public art, Tom Otterness' Free Money, currently stands also on Park Avenue at 57th Street courtesy of the Marlborough Gallery. Six works by different artists are also on view now in City Hall Park for MetroSpective sponsored by the Public Art Fund.

One Through Zero will run through May 3, 2003.

Written by Eric Adolfsen


"All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman, and a pretty girl."

Charlie Chaplin


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