Corita Kent

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Corita Kent
Sister Corita Kent.jpg
Born Frances Elizabeth Kent
November 20, 1918
Fort Dodge, Iowa
Died September 18, 1986(1986-09-18) (aged 67)
Known for Silkscreen, serigraphy
Movement Pop art

Corita Kent (November 20, 1918 – September 18, 1986), aka Sister Mary Corita Kent, was born Frances Elizabeth Kent in Fort Dodge, Iowa.[1] Kent was an artist and an educator who worked in Los Angeles and Boston. She worked almost exclusively with silkscreen and serigraphy, helping to establish it as a fine art medium. Her artwork, with its messages of love and peace, was particularly popular during the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s.[2] Kent designed the 1985 United States Postal Service annual "love" stamp.[3]


After high school, Upon entering the Roman Catholic order of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles in 1936 Kent took the name Sister Mary Corita.[4] She took classes at Otis (now Otis College of Art and Design) and Chouinard Art Institute and earned her BA from Immaculate Heart College in 1941.[5] She earned her MA at the University of Southern California in Art History in 1951.[6] Between 1938 and 1968 Kent lived and worked in the Immaculate Heart Community.[7] She taught in the Immaculate Heart College and was the chairman of its art department. She left the order in 1968 and moved to Boston, where she devoted herself to making art. She died of cancer in 1986.

She was friends with Alfred Hitchcock, John Cage, Saul Bass, Buckminster Fuller and Charles and Ray Eames.[citation needed]

Kent credited Charles Eames, Buckminster Fuller, and Art Historian Dr. Alois Schardt for their important roles in her intellectual and artistic growth.[8]

Kent created several hundred serigraph designs, for posters, book covers, and murals. Her work includes the 1985 Love Stamp and Rainbow Swash (1971), the 150-foot (46 m)-high natural gas tank in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston.

Some of Corita Kent's most recent solo exhibitions include; Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College, There Will Be New Rules Next Week at Dundee Contemporary Arts, and R(ad)ical Love: Sister Mary Corita at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Corita Kent's estate is represented by the Zach Feuer Gallery.

Artistic Style[edit]

In 1962 Corita began using popular culture as raw material for her work.Her screen prints often incorporated the archetypical product of brands of American consumerism alongside spiritual texts. Her design process involved taking an original advertising graphic, perhaps something she found at a local shop, and then appropriating it to suit her idea. Many times she would tear, rip, or crumble the image, then re-photograph it. She often used grocery store signage, texts from scripture, newspaper clippings, song lyrics, and writings from literary greats such as Gertrude Stein, e.e. cummings, and Albert Camus as the textual focal point of her work.[9]


Corita Kent's work is held by a variety of well known institutions and private collectors including The Whitney,[10] Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,[11] and The Metropolitan Museum of Art[12] in New York.

Partial list of publications[edit]

  • 1967 Footnotes and Headlines: A Play-Pray Book, Sister Corita
  • 1968 To Believe in God, poem by Joseph Pintauro, color by Sister Corita
  • 1969 city, uncity, poems by Gerald Huckaby, pages by Corita Kent
  • 1970 Damn Everything but the Circus, Corita Kent
  • 1992 Learning By Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit, Corita Kent (posthumously) and Jan Steward
  • 2000 "Life Stories of Artist Corita Kent (1918–1986): Her Spirit, Her Art, the Woman Within" (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Gonzaga University), Barbara Loste
  • Eye, No. 35, Vol. 9, edited by John L. Walters, Quantum Publishing, 2000.
  • 2006 Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita, Julie Ault



  • Let the Sun Shine In – A Retrospective, Solo Show, Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin, Germany
  • Corita Kent, Solo Show, Galerie Allen, Paris, France
  • Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent, Solo Show, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, US


  • The Gospel According to Corita Kent, Solo Show, Parson House Gallery, Assonet, US
  • The Corita Kent Exhibition, Solo Show, The Herb Alpert Educational Village, Santa Monica, US
  • There Will Be New Rules Next Week, Solo Show, Dundee Contemporary Arts Center, Dundee, Scotland
  • Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent, Solo Show,
  • Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, US
  • Tell It to My Heart, Group Show, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Switzerland
  • Culturgest, Group Show, Libson, Portugal
  • Artists Space, Group Show, New York, US
  • Decade of Dissent: Democracy in Action 1965-1976, Group Show, Santa Monica Art Studios, Santa Monica, US
  • Letters from Los Angeles: Text in Southern California Art, Group Show, Los Angeles Convention Center, L.A., US
  • Air de Pied-à-terre, Group Show, Lisa Cooley Gallery, New York, US
  • Elements, Rudiments, and Principles, Group Show, Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, US


  1. ^ Eye, Number 35, Volume 9, Spring 2000.
  2. ^ "Work of pop art icon Corita Kent coming to Hayward, Castro Valley galleries", Oakland Tribune, 2/14/2011
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Tigerman, Bobbye. Handbook of California Design. Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: The Los Angeles County Museum Art and The MIT Press. pp. 142–143. ISBN 0262518384. 
  5. ^ Corita Kent Oral History Transcript from the Archives of American Art
  6. ^ Eye, Number 35, Volume 9, Spring 2000.
  7. ^ Eye, Number 35, Volume 9, Spring 2000.
  8. ^ Tigerman, Bobbye. Handbook of California Design. Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: The Los Angeles County Museum Art and The MIT Press. pp. 142–143. ISBN 0262518384. 
  9. ^ Axell, Evelyne, and Angela Stief. "Sister Corita." Power up - Female Pop Art: Evelyne Axell, Sister Corita, Christa Dichgans, Rosalyn Drexler, Jann Haworth, Dorothy Iannone, Kiki Kogelnik, Marisol, Niki De Saint Phalle ; Kunsthalle Wien, 5. November 2010 Bis 20. Februar 2011, Phoenix Art. Köln: Dumont, 2010. 151.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

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