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Artists Corita Kent
Corita Kent Photo

Corita Kent

American Printmaker and Pop Artist

Movement: Pop Art

Born: November 20, 1918 - Fort Dodge, Iowa

Died: September 18, 1986 - Boston, Massachusetts

Corita Kent Timeline

"Words have life and must be cared for. If they are stolen for ugly uses or careless slang or false promotion work, they need to be brought back to their original meaning - back to their roots."

Summary

Corita Kent, a nun for over three decades, created bold and colorful silkscreen prints that championed social justice causes. Kent took seriously the Catholic ideas of finding the holy in one's everyday life and so turned to popular images and song lyrics as well as commodity labels and lettering. Kent combined these with biblical verses and her own handwriting to create compositions that spoke to the weighty themes of poverty, racism, and war. Kent merged a Pop Art aesthetic, inspired by Andy Warhol, with spiritual and compassionate thinking in order that her art be accessible to the largest public possible. Through her work and her decades of teaching avant-garde art Kent inspired and showed new directions for numerous artists and activists.

Key Ideas

Working almost exclusively in silkscreen printing, or serigraphy, Kent not only emulated Pop Art methods, but she was also adamant that this medium, which created multiple prints of the same image, was more accessible and affordable for more people. This democratic notion of art making and art buying went hand-in-hand with her social justice activism.
Unlike much Pop Art, which glorified and criticized the new American commodity culture, Kent used the everyday - a loaf of bread or a can of tomatoes - to imbue it with a sense of spirituality and religiosity. Additionally, her inclusion of texts written in her own handwriting added a sense of the personal that most Pop Art lacked.
Steeped in the liberal tradition of Catholicism that promoted social justice, Kent, even after she left the convent, combined the radicality of artistic avant-garde practice with social activism, creating a protest art that railed against America's war in Vietnam, that supported Civil Rights, and that shone a light on poverty and hunger. While much Pop Art eschewed overt politics, Kent thoroughly embraced socially outspoken art.
Corita at the Immaculate Heart College Art Department (c. 1964)
Corita at the Immaculate Heart College Art Department (c. 1964)

When Sister Corita Kent became an influential Pop Artist, religious elders were unhappy. Complaints were made about her art and she was asked to abandon her creative calling. She left her convent as a result and found herself at the age of 50 living alone for the first time and lacking life skills. Unable to drive or cook, she was unperturbed and went on to create a body of powerful art that wowed the likes of Andy Warhol!

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Corita Kent
Interactive chart with Corita Kent's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Artists

Alois Schardt
Charles EamesCharles Eames
Ray Eames
Buckminster FullerBuckminster Fuller

Personal Contacts

Andy WarholAndy Warhol
Ben ShahnBen Shahn
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
Mark RothkoMark Rothko
Robert MotherwellRobert Motherwell

Movements

Byzantine ArtByzantine Art
Medieval art
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
Pop ArtPop Art

Influences on Artist
Corita Kent
Corita Kent
Years Worked: 1951 - 1986
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Charles EamesCharles Eames
Ray Eames
Buckminster FullerBuckminster Fuller
Alfred HitchcockAlfred Hitchcock

Personal Contacts

Saul Bass
Mike KelleyMike Kelley
Lari Pittman
Shepard FaireyShepard Fairey
Julie AultJulie Ault

Movements

Pop ArtPop Art
CollageCollage

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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First published on 13 Mar 2019. Updated and modified regularly.
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