Born this day in 1918: Corita Kent (Sister Mary Corita; 1918–1986), radical nun, pop artist, art teacher, social activist
Frances Kent was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, but grew up in Los Angeles. In 1936 she joined the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and took the name Sister Mary Corita.
She began teaching art at Immaculate Heart College in 1947. By 1964 she would become head of the school’s art department. In 1951 Kent received a master’s degree in art history from the University of Southern California. She soon launched her career as a silkscreen artist. Kent combined elements of popular culture, such as advertising logos and slogans, with poetry, Bible verses, and Biblical imagery. Her works were powerful statements supporting both her faith and her social activism. Not surprisingly, the Vatican disapproved. It tried to stop her from making her art and tried to stop her and the other nuns of her order from modernizing.
In 1968 Kent decided to leave the order. She moved to Boston and dedicated herself full-time to her art. Her later work is characterized by joyous and bold bright colors. She willed all of her unsold work to the Immaculate Heart Community. The organization used the money to create the Corita Art Center, where they maintain the largest collection of her work. Corita’s personal collection resides at the Grunwald Center for Graphic Arts (UCLA Hammer Museum).
|Black is Beautiful|
|The Big G Stands for Goodness|
|Yes to You|
|Anyone who's driven through Boston on the SE Expressway knows Corita!|
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