“A work of art makes you alert to what you hadn’t noticed in the ordinary things, so that the distinction narrows between what is ordinary and what is extraordinary,” we hear Corita Kent say in the new video produced by KCET Artbound, “Corita Kent: The Pop Art Nun.” The video, which is being exclusively premiered on Hyperallergic, is filled with gems of archival recordings from an artist who saw graphic design as a spiritual and political force.
Also known as Sister Mary Corita (which means “little heart”), she joined the religious order at the age of 18 but quickly went on to develop her identity as an artist. She got her master’s from the University of Southern California and was the head of the art department at Immaculate Heart College. Some of the most captivating segments in the video focus on Kent’s work as a teacher: one of her favorite activities was giving students viewfinders as tools for cropping. They’d go out into the Los Angeles streets and look closely at public signs and the façades of grocery stores.
Working during the era of Pop art, Kent was influenced by the likes of Andy Warhol and the use of everyday graphics. Like her contemporaries, she borrowed the imagery of packaging and advertising for her posters, except her works have a unique sense of depth and meaning. For example, in one artwork, she adapted the branding of Wonder Bread to talk about the hungry people in the world, despite the fact of having enough bread to go around. With time, Kent’s work became increasingly political, commenting on events in Los Angeles, including one poster that critiqued the LA Times‘s racist coverage of the 1965 Watts uprising.
This video is part of a special Sunday Edition that Hyperallergic is publishing with KCET on the rich history of graphic design in California, with a focus on Los Angeles. You can read more about Kent and the context in which she was working by checking out our other articles in the series.
Lewis’s tattered canvases and pasted over drawings mirror a world in need of constant upkeep and repair.
Seeing the Toronto Biennial of Art through my daughter’s eyes helped me push past some of its challenges by experiencing it on a primordial level.
Who says tragedy has to be tragic? Co-presented with National Black Theatre, this fresh, Pulitzer-winning take on a classic centers Black joy and liberation.
With its titular blend of Western culture and Asian ethnicity, Tyrus Wong’s “Chinese Jesus” painting embodies Asian American identity.
Prehistoric Planet is visually ambitious, but the docuseries often fails to contextualize those visuals for the curious viewer.
For the triennial’s eighth edition, work by more than 70 artists is featured in 12 exhibitions and a polyphonic program, installed at various locations throughout the German city.
Imelda Marcos and her husband were accused of plundering billions of dollars from the country.
Probably not, but it sure looks like one.
This exhibition explores the work and short-but-impactful life of the groundbreaking ceramic artist. Now on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
I won’t bother you with talk about how obscenely decadent and out of touch the Frieze art fair is. And yet…
Curators Tahnee Ahtone, La Tanya S. Autry, Frederica Simmons, Dan Cameron, and Jeremy Dennis offered the public a window into their curatorial processes through the work they produced during their fellowships.
As part of Hyperallergic’s Emily Hall Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators, Jeremy Dennis presents an exhibition to offer insight into his curatorial process.