For 30 years, Sister Corita Kent (1918-1986) taught art for the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. After seeing Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) at an LA gallery, Sister Corita produced her first Pop art prints (also inspired by Vatican II, which opened that same year). As her life became more hectic and the archbishop more disapproving, Corita sought solace in a sabbatical on Cape Cod. Later, she received a dispensation from the order to be released from her vows. Settled in Boston, Corita continued a very active art practice, which included public works, private commissions, and thousands of watercolors and screen-prints.
Recognized as an important figure in Pop art, Corita’s work is now included in the collections of major museums across the U.S. and internationally. The GTU Archives holds selected prints from Corita’s two alphabet series, both made in 1968. Her choice of the alphabet as a motif resonates with her long-term interest in lettering as an art form and her belief in the power of words to act as symbols and prayers. Reflecting on her art practice, Corita explained, “I think that in the early days, especially, I was trying to make ‘religious art’... And then pretty soon I realized that anything that was any good had a religious quality, so that it didn't matter whether it had that kind of subject.”
To see more art by Sister Corita Kent visit Corita Kent: heroes and sheroes at the St. Mary’s College Museum of Art in Moraga, September 13 - December 10.
Curated by the Center for the Arts & Religion at the GTU.