Monday, September 30, 2013

Slug Signorino and "The Straight Dope"

"The Straight Dope," a question-and-answer column written by the rare and elusive Cecil Adams, has appeared in the Chicago Reader since 1973 and in syndication for some time since then. This year marks forty years of fighting ignorance by Mr. Adams, the world's smartest human. In that time, "The Straight Dope" has had but one illustrator, the equally elusive though less fictional Slug Signorino. Mr. Signorino is a Hoosier and lives in La Porte, Indiana. I believe I know his approximate year of birth and his real first name, but those facts are not really the point of my writing today. Instead I would like to direct readers to the website of "The Straight Dope" and the question of the day concerning television-watching habits of middle Americans. Robert Clark, subject of my posting from earlier today, thought enough of his home state to rename himself Robert Indiana. Cecil Adams seems to be less enamored of neighboring Indiana, for the last sentence of his current column reads:
If asked what's most likely to cause brain damage: daylight savings time, watching TV, or living in Indiana, I ain't going with DST.
I'll take that as a swipe at my home state and assume it's all in good fun. After all, Cecil Adams' illustrator lives in Indiana and he obviously does not exhibit any signs of brain damage.


Text copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

Robert Indiana (1928-2028)

Pop artist Robert Indiana turns eighty-five this month. His career in art is the subject of a retrospective exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Entitled "Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE," the exhibit opened on September 26, 2013, and runs until January 5, 2014. Mr. Indiana created his iconic painting, called and spelling out the word LOVE, in 1966, the sesquicentennial year of his home state. He is known for his bold and brightly-colored pop-art imagery.

Robert Indiana was born Robert Clark on September 13, 1928, in New Castle, Indiana. He attended Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis (1942-1946) and served in the air force for three years before studying at the Art Institute of Chicago (1949-1953), the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine (summer 1953), and Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art (1953-1954). He returned to the United States in 1954 and settled in New York City. Since 1978, he has been a resident of Vinalhaven, Maine.

Robert Indiana's own website: Robert Indiana

Robert Indiana created an iconic image simply by stacking and tilting letters in his painting of 1966, entitled LOVE. In 1973, the U.S. Postal Service issued an 8-cent LOVE stamp. Happy eighty-fifth birthday to Robert Indiana and happy fortieth anniversary to the LOVE stamp.

Update (December 6, 2019): Robert Indiana died on May 19, 2018, in Vinalhaven, Maine, at age eighty-nine.

Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley