“The Isolation Artist: Scandal, Deception, and the Last Days of Robert Indiana” by Bob Keyes— Scandals and Rumors

Keyes, Bob. “The Isolation Artist: Scandal, Deception, and the Last Days of Robert Indiana”, David R. Godine Publisher, 2021.

Scandals and Rumors

Amos Lassen

When Robert Indiana died in 2018, he left behind dark rumors and scandal and an estate embroiled in lawsuits and facing accusations of fraud. He has been a reclusive, millionaire artist  Here, for the first time, are all the pieces to the strange true story of his final days, what happened afterwards, the deceptive world that surrounded him, art as very big business.Indiana refused to copyright his iconic LOVE sculpture in 1965. He was strange and tortured and he wanted to be both famous and a loner. Indiana surrounded himself with people to manage his life and work. Yet, he often changed his mind and often fired or made fun of those who worked with him. By 2008, when he created the sculpture HOPE(or did he?), he had signed away his work for others to exploit thus creating doubt about whether he had even seen artwork sold for very high prices under his name. 

At the time of his death, Indiana left an estate worth millions and suspicions. There were allegations of fraudulent artwork, of elder abuse, of caregivers who subjected him to terrible living conditions. There were questions about his inconclusive autopsy and rumors that his final will had been signed under force. There were also strong suspicions about the freeloaders who’d attached themselves to him. The people closest to him “covered their tracks and plotted their defenses.” 

With access to the key players in Indiana’s life, author Bob Keyes brings us the riveting story that gives us a rare inside look into the life of an artist as well as the often world of high-end art. We learn about art dealers, law firms, and local characters in Maine whose lives crossed his. 

This is a look into the life and death of a contradictory American artist whose work touched millions even as he lived and died in isolation, without love but with the loss of hope a great deal of money.

Leave a Reply