Since 2002, the Civic Center Mall in Scottsdale has been home to an iconic piece of art: the LOVE statue. But, in June of 2018, a routine inspection of the mall and underlying Drinkwater Boulevard revealed severe water damage that could make the area dangerous to both drivers and pedestrians. It has been closed ever since.
When the discovery was first made, there were questions about whether the city of Scottsdale had the funds to repair the damage. However, repairs are now underway – and the statue is getting a new home until it can return to its original location.
The History of Love in Scottsdale
The Love sculpture was made by artist Robert Indiana. Indiana often incorporated words into his art. He has also used Eat and Hug in his art, but Love is undoubtedly his most famous creation.
The design, which features the four letters of love stacked in twos (the L-O on top and the V-E on the bottom), was first featured on the 1964 holiday card for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The card’s popularity led to an equally popular postage stamp, and ultimately, to the statue that graces Scottsdale.
Indiana’s first Love sculpture was created in 1970 and displayed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The most famous version stands in Philadelphia’s Love Park, and there are versions around the world featuring the word Love in Hebrew, Spanish, Chinese, and Italian.
The Scottsdale sculpture was purchased through the Scottsdale Public Art Program and measures 144 X 144 X 72 inches. It’s made of poly-chromed red and blue aluminum and weights in at 3,800 pounds. The sculpture in Scottsdale was the first in a series of five in a red and blue color scheme. LOVE was dedicated on October 13, 2002 and has been a fixture in Scottsdale ever since.
The Love Sculpture’s New Home
Since its installation in Scottsdale in 2002, the Love sculpture has proven to be a popular attraction with locals and tourists alike. Walk past it on any given day and you’re likely to see at least one photo or selfie being taken with it. If you follow anybody who’s visited the statue on social media, it’s likely that you’ve seen a picture or three shared on Instagram.
The lack of access to “Love” has been felt in Scottsdale, so it’s a relief to learn that the statue is being relocated to a new location while the city works to repair the water damage around the Civic Center Mall.
Moving the statue will require some special equipment because of its size and weight. Its new home is not far from the old one – it’s moving 130 feet toward the Civic Center Library, where it will once more be accessible to the public.
At present, it is unclear how long the repairs will take or when “Love” will return to its original location. But for now, at least, it’s good to know that Love has returned to Scottsdale.