The parallels between Robert Indiana and Bob Dylan aren’t obvious, but they’re there.
Both grew up in the Midwest and came to New York to find their creative voice. Both were inspired by the possibility of romance of the road in post-World War II America, changed their names and became pop icons in the 1960s. Both also remain active in their advancing years, and this summer both artists will have a presence at Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston.
Indiana, 87, lives on Vinalhaven Island off the Maine coast. These dozen new silkscreen prints are among 70 works in “Robert Indiana: Now and Then.” Bates will be the first museum to show Indiana’s Dylan series.
A pop artist, Indiana is best known for his “LOVE” image, spelled with a tilted letter “O.” It’s among the most recognizable images in American art history. He draws inspiration from commercial logos, road signs and other common visual vernacular.
For the Dylan series, Indiana employs his familiar graphic approach, creating colorful, symmetrical shapes and decorating them with lyrics from the song. Indiana began the series about two years ago.
Longtime Indiana friend and collaborator Michael McKenzie curated the exhibition. “I’d have to say that no musical artist has influenced me as much as Dylan, and probably no poet has influenced me as much as Dylan,” Indiana told McKenzie.
Dylan, who turned 75 this week, performs in Portland on July 16. There’s no word yet whether he plans to see the exhibition.
BY BOB KEYES STAFF WRITER