For Arte Fiera Bologna 2018, the London Art Gallery Cris Contini Contemporary presented a special project featuring world-renowned American artist Robert Indiana. Complete with antique furniture, workshop tools, and rustic walls and floors, ContiniArtUK recreates Robert Indiana’s first studio in Coenties Slip, New York, the location that artistically inspired the artist.
Between 1956-1964, the penthouse studio on the 3rd floor of 25 Coenties Slip, New York, was occupied by Robert Clark: a talented and ambitious artist originally from the state of Indiana. Coenties Slip, a former industrial area in Lower Manhattan, was transformed during those years into a thriving and upcoming artistic community, housing notable artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, James Rosenquist, Agnes Martin, Jasper Johns and regularly frequented by Andy Warhol.
By 1964, Coenties Slip had transformed Robert Clark into Robert Indiana: a fully formed Pop and Hard Edge artist whose symbolic style launched him worldwide.
The few black and white photographs from those years show a very eclectic studio; complete with wagon wheels, metal signs, random letters, and industrial tools hanging from the rustic brick walls, a décor reminiscent of the building’s previous use as a sail-making factory.
Scattered all around the studio are plants, and some of Indiana’s prints, paintings and early totem sculptures. It is in this creative nest that Robert Indiana finds his lifelong artistic inspiration, creating his world recognised art-lettered style that earned him the title of “the crown prince of Pop”.
After many inspirational years in his beloved New York studio, Robert Indiana decided to move and live as a recluse in Vinalhaven, a small island in Maine. Despite his chosen alienation, the inspiration from his Coenties Slip studio followed him, resulting in the creation of some later works, such as The Berlin Series and his bold messages of LOVE and HOPE, until his recent acclaimed Bob Dylan Suite.