Dillinger belongs to a series of columns that Indiana began in 1964, and modified with the addition of gold paint in 1998. The other works are My Mother, My Father, Bob’s Column, Call Me Ishmael, and Call Me Indiana. These columns were first exhibited with wheels in 2005 at the exhibition Robert Indiana: Wood, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York. They were most recently on view at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, United Kingdom, in the exhibition Robert Indiana: Sculpture 1958–2018.
In a 1963 interview with the art collector Richard Brown Baker, Indiana recalled attending the funeral of John Dillinger, “Indiana’s most notorious citizen,” as a young child. That, along with the news coverage of his death, left a vivid, lasting impression, and he told Baker “there’ll be a Dillinger painting one day.” Although the painting never materialized, he completed this sculpture.