Liberation art from the Church 1 Favorite 

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Jan 1 1969

Location: 

Los Angeles CA

From Black Power to Migrants’ Power
BY Robin Cembalest POSTED 01/22/13

As ’60s activist art enters museums, a new generation is creating an iconography of protest for today

“There have been the singing nun and the flying nun, but the hippest of all is Los Angeles’s painting nun,” noted Newsweek in its 1967 cover story on Sister Corita Kent, the artist, activist, and teacher, whose first career survey, as The Saratogian reports, opened at the Francis Young Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore college this week.

Despite her edgy Pop sensibility, influential friends like Ben Shahn and Buckminster Fuller, and posthumous shows in various museums, along with a 2009 exhibition at Zach Feuer Gallery, Sister Corita never became a presence in the mainstream art world. No doubt this is partly because of her vocation (she was a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which she joined in 1936 and left in 1968), and the fact that she was a printmaker, rather than a painter.

Deploying the earnestness of a believer, an avant-garde sense of typography, and a collagist’s wit, Sister Corita (1918-86) mashed together words and slogans from advertising, the Bible, philosophy, poetry, and lyrics, producing hundreds of confrontational, inspirational prints on themes of individual empowerment and social justice. (Later her 10 rules for Immaculate Heart College’s art department, which cite and are sometimes misattributed to John Cage, became an online classic.)

“Almost in some ways she was outsider even though was she trained and was insider in other ways,” says Tang director Ian Berry, who co-curated the exhibition with Michael Duncan. “I’m hoping this show can get her into the trajectory of art conversation.”

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