If nothing else, the convention is a place to unveil things. That is just the case for pop artist Robert Indiana, who unveiled his latest sculpture, "HOPE." Indiana is most famous for his "LOVE" sculpture in which he stacks the letters. The new sculpture looks exactly like"LOVE" except that it's stainless steel and spells "HOPE." I spoke with the two artists who fabricated the piece. Lauren Holmgren and Josh Dow, who run Green Foundry, did the casting for Indiana's latest sculpture. "The piece was made using 316 stainless steel (11 gauge)and weighs in at about 1500 pounds," said Dow. I said I hope it was not steel from Japan. They were about 95% sure it was from Rhode Island.
I also talked to Michael McKenzie, a publisher friend of Indiana's who was helping produce the unveiling. McKenzie recounted a conversation with the artist when he was trying to encourage him to do more art. "Robert, I admit you've produced one of the most recognizable artpieces from the 20th century," said McKenzie, "but what have you done lately?" When asked what could follow LOVE, Indiana replied, "nothing could follow LOVE." The peace symbol was one suggestion but McKenzie talked him out of it saying he'd seen that on the backside of every girl he'd ever dated. Eventually they came around to the word "hope." McKenzie claims he gave Indiana the word after seeing it on a Dalai Lama poster. Apparently Tibet favors Obama. I must say, the sculpture looked pretty amazing sitting outside the Pepsi Center. I asked where HOPE's final home would be and without missing a beat McKenzie replied, "The White House lawn."