SISTER MARY CORITA KENT
b. 1918 Iowa – d. 1986 Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Sister Corita Kent was an artist, educator, and advocate for social justice. At age 18 she entered the religious order Immaculate Heart of Mary, eventually teaching in and then heading up the art department at Immaculate Heart College. Her work evolved from figurative and religious to incorporating advertising images and slogans, popular song lyrics, biblical verses, and literature. Throughout the ‘60s, her work became increasingly political, urging viewers to consider poverty, racism, and injustice. In 1968 she left the order and moved to Boston. After 1970, her work evolved into a sparser, introspective style, influenced by living in a new environment, a secular life, and her battles with cancer. She remained active in social causes until her death in 1986. At the time of her death, she had created almost 800 serigraph editions, thousands of watercolours, and innumerable public and private commissions.
A major retrospective of Coritia’s was shown at the deCordova Museum in Massachusetts in 1980. Many public institutions and private collectors around the world hold Corita’s work including The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles that has a very comprehensive collection. Corita also has her own print company situated in Hollywood selling Corita’s prints and merchandise as well as an Art Center that has played host to exhibitions of Corita’s and an educational program based on her methods.
Serigraphs from her Circus Alphabet series, 1968 were part of the seminal exhibition on female Pop artists, Power Up at Kunsthalle, Vienna in Nov 2010 – Feb 2011.