VINALHAVEN, Me.— A WINDBLOWN island 80 minutes by ferry from Maine's rocky coast might not be everyone's idea of paradise in frigid winter. But the artist Robert Indiana,
who moved here from Manhattan 25 years ago, prefers his chilly exile on Main Street.
Once a downtown art-world insider, Mr. Indiana, who invented the ''Love'' logo in 1964, has undergone a nearly complete transformation into the consummate art-world outsider, sealed off in the
Vinalhaven world he has created for himself. He lives in the center of town, in a four-story Victorian building stocked with his ''Love'' artworks in various forms in nearly every room.
Love itself, however, is in somewhat short supply.
''I don't care for the pipes that freeze, I don't care for the furnace that goes on the blink and I don't care for the power outages we very frequently have on the island,'' Mr. Indiana said
last week when asked what he likes about the house.
When it was pointed out that he hadn't answered the question, he paused. ''What was the question?''
He doesn't like lobster, either.
Warm and fuzzy he is not. But like a nautilus fashioning chamber after chamber lined with mother-of-pearl, the reclusive and cantankerous Mr. Indiana has turned his house, a former chapter
headquarters of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, into a fascinating personal archive. There are dozens, possibly hundreds, of his colorful and enigmatic works and those given to him by
old friends like Ellsworth Kelly and Mimmo Rotella. There are hundreds of reviews and news clippings, and a startlingly wide range of ''Love'' merchandise. The repository amounts to a portrait
of the artist as an old man.
Warhol had Warholiana. This is Indianiana.
''I don't throw things away,'' Mr. Indiana said. ''It's an Indiana museum.''
But he is hardly ready to be relegated to posterity. Next week, the first show of new work that he has had in New York in 12 years will open at the Paul Kasmin Gallery in Chelsea. Ten of his
brightly colored aluminum numbers, each six and a half feet tall, went on display this week along Park Avenue between 60th and 70th Streets. (The series, titled ''One Through Zero,'' had never
been shown assembled.) A show of his 1960's work will also open next week at C&M Arts on the Upper East Side. more...
Maine's Oceanfront Real Estate Specialists
Representing Maine Real Estate Buyers