ROCKLAND, Maine ― Nearly a year after the renowned pop artist Robert Indiana died at his Vinalhaven home, a piece of his artwork will be returning to the skyline of Rockland’s Main Street.
Next month, a 20-foot-by-20-foot sign depicting the word “EAT” made by Indiana in 1964 will return to its summer home on the roof of the Farnsworth Art Museum, according to the museum’s communications director, David Troup.
Since 2009, from late spring until early fall, the sign has flashed marquee lights above Rockland’s art-centric downtown. But last summer, after Indiana’s death, the sign did not return due to the legal proceedings that have surrounded Indiana’s estate.
Indiana, famously known for his “LOVE” series, was a native of the midwest and lived in New York before moving to Vinalhaven in the late 1970s. Indiana died of natural causes at his island home, called the Star of Hope, in May of last year.
With Vinalhaven being located just 15 miles off the coast of Rockland, Indiana had close ties with the midcoast art community, including the Farnsworth and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, now located in Rockland.
In 2009, the Farnsworth hosted a retrospective on Indiana’s work, which is what brought the “EAT” sign to the museum in the first place.
Indiana originally made the sign for the New York World’s Fair in 1964, but after fairgoers mistook the sign for a restaurant, its lights were turned off, the Farnsworth’s chief curator Michael Komanecky previously told the Bangor Daily News.
Komanecky said Indiana never got a chance to see the sign lit up as he envisioned it, until it was illuminated on the Farnsworth’s roof on a rainy summer night in 2009.
The sign is scheduled to be reinstalled on May 7, Troup said in an email Thursday, though the installation date is weather dependent.