Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Original Sister Act: Corita Kent and the Power of Love, Peace & Art

THE ORIGINAL SISTER ACT: CORITA KENT AND THE POWER OF LOVE, PEACE & ART-- She was one tough cookie and that's what everyone loved her for: her unyielding determination to bring about social justice and change through her art and her hope that love and peace would always prevail if given the opportunity. Her "Love" postage stamp in 1985 made her a household name, but long before that, Sister Mary Corita Kent (born Frances Elizabeth Kent) was an artistic activist during those turbulent 1960s when Americans took to the streets, rioting and protesting the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement for African-Americans and slogans of every type filled the air -- and out of this consciousness-shifting time for America came the brilliantly colored serigraphs of Kent that found their way translated into posters, book covers and murals.  In the 1930s, Kent entered the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and her love of art found her taking classes at the Otis Art Institute (now the Otis College of Art and Design) as well as the famed Chouinard Art Institute.  Beginning March 17 and running through April 14, 2012, Otis will examine the impact of Kent's work in the exhibition "Purely Observational / Everyday Political: Artwork of and inspired by Corita Kent" curated by Otis faculty member Nancy Jo Haselbacher who presents the work of her students who participated in the "One Over One Printmaking" class and who were inspired by Kent's work to create their own politically-motivated art.  During her time in Los Angeles (before she moved to Boston in 1968 to pursue her art and live out her life until her passing in 1986), Kent had a legion of friends and followers, supposedly including Alfred Hitchcock, Buckminster Fuller, Saul Bass and Ray and Charles Eames to name a few.  The Corita Art Center is located in the heart of Hollywood (on the campus of the Immaculate Heart High School) and her work can always be found somewhere in the world -- currently Kent's work can be found in exhibitions in Paris, Washington DC, Philadelphia and West Hollywood (not to mention the upcoming show at Otis). Sales of items from the Corita Art Center support the ongoing charitable programs of the Immaculate Heart community, including classroom studies where children get to see how Kent used her art to help change the times in which she lived, i.e. showing the correlation between the visual and the historical. We at Studio of Style think that is just a wonderful legacy to leave behind, don't you? Bold, gutsy, motivated and filled with love for everyone. Let's face it, Kent was one sister act that has been a tough act to follow since.
Otis exhibit: http://www.otis.edu/public_programs/ben_maltz_gallery/index.html