The Confederacy: Alabama (1965), on display in MUAM’s 40 for 40: Celebrating 40 Years exhibition, is a popular piece in MUAM’s permanent collection. The piece itself has traveled to over 25 museums all over the world, including France, Germany, and Japan. Part of Robert Indiana’s Confederacy Series, Alabama is considered the most famous and popular of the four-part series. These works were created in response to the horrific truths African Americans endured during the Civil Rights movement. In the series, Indiana created a work for four Confederacy states (Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana) and included his own powerful words in response to what he was learning in the news. Selma, Alabama, was the site of “Bloody Sunday,” a fateful march to Montgomery that took place on March 7, 1965. Approximately 600 civil rights marchers were attacked with clubs, tear gas, and dogs by state and local law officers before they were able to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. This was one of three marches from Selma that eventually led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Robert Indiana (1928-2018) was a renowned American Pop artist known for his catchy word and phrase works. Included in his portfolio, Indiana produced the infamous LOVE screen prints which later evolved into free-standing public sculptures. Indiana created the LOVE prints to be used for the Museum of Modern Art’s holiday card and was later picked up by the United States Postal Service as a national stamp. He prided himself on taking mundane words, words many people use freely and without merit, and transposing them into confrontational works meant to make the viewer think.
Today, these sculptures are found in major cities all over the world. Many people view them as site-specific works meant to engage visitors, allowing for the perfect photo-op and ‘Instagramable’ picture.
To learn more about this work, Robert Indiana, and the selfie-craze site-specific art has had on present-day culture, come to Dr. Dell’Aria’s lecture on February 21 at 5:50pm at MUAM!
Check out where Alabama: The Confederacy has been!
- Whitney Museum of American Art: 1965 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting (December 8, 1965-January 30, 1966)
- Stable Gallery, New York: Robert Indiana (May 3-28, 1966)
- Casino Gallery, Highland Park IL: The Natives Return (Ravinia Festival Exhibit 1968) (June 30-August 31, 1968)
- Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago: Violence! In Recent American Art (November 8, 1968-January 12, 1969)
- University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City: Living with Art: Selected Loans from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Netsch (September 15-October 21, 1971)
- Donated to Miami University Art Museum in 1982 by Mr. and Mrs. Walter and Dawn Clark Netsch
- Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, Ohio: Living with Art, Two: The Collection of Walter and Dawn Clark Netsch (September 10-December 16, 1983)
- Traveled to: The Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame (January 22-March 25, 1984)
- University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley: Made in the U.S.A.: An Americanization of Modern Art, the 50s and 60s (April 4-June 21, 1987)
- Traveled to: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: Kansas City Mo. (June 25-Sept 6, 1987)
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (October 7-December 7, 1987)
- Milwaukee Art Museum: Word as Image: American Art 1960-1990 (June 15-August 26, 1990)
- Traveled to: Oklahoma City Art Museum (November 17, 1990 – February 1991) Contemporary Art Museum, Houston (February 23-May 12, 1991)
- Columbus Museum of Art: A Nation’s Legacy: 150 Years of American Art from Ohio Collections (January 19-March 15, 1992)
- Traveled to: Isetan Museum, Tokyo, Japan (April 9- May 5, 1992)
- Takamatsu Municipal Museum of Art, Japan (August 7 – September 6, 1992)
- Fukushima Cultral Center, Japan (June 27-August 2, 1992)
- Yamaguchi Perfectural Museum of Art, Japan (May 12- June 21, 1992)
- Umeda Diamura Museum, Osaka, Japan (September 23-October 5, 1992)
- Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporian, Nice, France: Robert Indiana: Retrospective, 1958-1998 (June 26- November 22, 1998)
- Portland Museum of Art, Maine: Love and the American Dream: The Art of Robert Indiana (June 24-October 17, 1999)
- Traveled to: Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, Georgia (November 23, 1999- January 30, 2000)
- Miami University Art Museum, Ohio: Social Justice: Robert Indiana (August 29-December 16, 2006)
- Whitney Museum of American Art: Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE (September 26, 2013-January 5, 2014)
- Traveled to: McNay Art Museum, San Antonio (February 3-May 25, 2014)
- Brooklyn Museum of Art: Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties (March 7-July 6, 2014)
- Haus der Kunst, Munich: The Postwar Institution: 1945-1965 (October 14, 2016- July 2, 2017)
- Miami University Art Museum, Ohio: 40 at 40: Celebrating 40 Years (January 29- June 8, 2019)
Written by: Caroline Bastian