Over the years, people have become obsessed with gathering beneath the famous L-O-V-E sculpture that towers over tourists’ and locals’ heads in Philadelphia. Some see the six-foot-tall statue as an iconic symbol of the city. It’s been the backdrop for countless politicians’ photo ops, played host to skateboarding rebels cruising by, and today the place is a selfie-snappers destination, too.
On Tuesday, the famous L-O-V-E sculpture was paraded around town before finally being re-installed in the ‘Love Park,’ more officially known as John F. Kennedy Plaza.
The statue spent about a year away from its nesting grounds, sitting at nearby city hall as the park was renovated.
But this week, after a reported $67,000 makeover, according to CBS, it’s back and restored to a more original hue, perched atop a brand new rectangular pedestal. Take a look at how the iconic piece of art has changed shades since it first arrived in Philly in 1976, and how the symbol, and its visitors, have evolved over more than 40 years together.
The statue, first brought to the park for the American Bicentennial in 1976, has gone through a few different looks during its time in the park.
On Tuesday, it was paraded around Philadelphia to crowds of LOVE-snapping onlookers before it was returned to its permanent home.
The statue sits across the street from Philadelphia’s City Hall, which you can see here in the background.
The original art was not a sculpture at all, but a simply-styled piece of 1960s pop art from creator Robert Indiana.
Indiana originally designed the image as a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1965, more than a decade before it went to Philly. Since then, it has appeared on stamps, banners, rings and sculptures around the world.
For years, the love sculpture in Philadelphia was accented in blue and green, a departure from its original hues.
This year it has been returned to its original color scheme: red, green and purple.
This isn’t the first time the sculpture’s been taken down in Philadelphia.
It was briefly removed in 1978 before the city decided it should have a permanent spot in its park, and then lifted away again here in 1999, for restoration.
Deborah Wye, retired chief curator of prints at the Museum of Modern Art, says the image is “full of erotic, religious, autobiographical, and political underpinnings.”
Wye argues the sign often served as an “emblem of 1960s idealism,” an iconic reminder of free love.
More recently, it’s been the site of some wedding vows.
And snowball fights, too.
The iconic symbol isn’t just Philadelphia’s, though.
There’s another copy of the statue in New York, and translated versions of the sculpture around the world, including one in Hebrew in Jerusalem.
Whatever your feelings about Valentine’s Day may be, one thing’s for sure: There’s just a little more LOVE out on display today.