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Sister Corita: The Joyous Revolutionary

August 19 - October 24, 2009

sr. corita image

somebody had to break the rules, 30 x 36 inches, 1967


A modern nun from Los Angeles, Sister Corita Kent (1918-1986) was hailed as a “joyous revolutionary” by renowned artist Ben Shahn. The exhibition includes her politically charged serigraphs from the 1950s to 1980s. As a teacher, artist, and activist, Corita also headed the Immaculate Heart College art department from 1964 until 1968, where she produced vibrant, political pop art characterized by bold, energetic graphics and indomitable optimism. A pervasive theme throughout Corita’s career was her revelation of the extraordinary within the ordinary, transforming everyday objects into spiritual expressions. Her humanist-inspired serigraphs—bright, dramatic images—were often based on commercial symbols, references to mass media, and the pure impact of the written word.

As a woman of conscience in an order dedicated to social justice and teaching on a college campus in the 1960s, Corita could not help but be politically engaged, and she proclaimed her politics through her art. By the end of the decade, Corita’s activism had become vociferously overt. Her impassioned cries of grief and outrage over the war in Vietnam as well as the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. expressed themselves in startling images and searing color.

Alexandra Carrera, Director
Corita Art Center
Immaculate Heart Community

The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple's a rose,
And the pear is, and so's
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose -
But were always a rose.
- Robert Frost, "The Rose Family"

Creative Text and Image Project
A text and visual element exercise is available on the Gallery's page of Course-Related Projects.