Here at Print Club we always want to give you the inside scoop, we recently visited the House of Illustration’s latest exhibition of pop artist, social activist and nun, Corita Kent, ‘Power Up’. This is an exhibition you don’t want to miss! The show is filled to the brim with vibrancy, colour and joyousness even though the pieces within the exhibition deal with controversial topics and Corita Kent provided a new perspective on topics such as racism, misogyny and war.
Location: House of Illustration, Kings Cross
Running until 12th May 2019
Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5.30pm
Sunday 11am – 5.30pm
Designed by the acclaimed Fraser Muggeridge studio, the exhibition will feature 70 screen prints showing the evolution of Corita’s work.
In the early 1960s she juxtaposed religious texts with advertising slogans, capturing the clamour and commercialism of LA’s post-WWII financial boom. Her 1965 screenprint power up derived from a gasoline advert, while her 1967 work come alive appropriated the iconic Pepsi-Cola slogan as an exuberant affirmation. Corita said of LA, “Up and down the highways we see words…that read almost like contemporary translations of the psalms for us to be singing on our way.” However, her 1964 print in homage to Mary, the juiciest tomato of all, was regarded as sacrilege by the church and banned from being displayed.
In the late 1960s Corita increasingly used art as protest against racism, misogyny, poverty and war. Working within the confines of America’s most conservative diocese, her voice was hugely influential in the country’s anti-authority shift, capturing the spirit of the anti-Vietnam war movement, civil rights movement and feminism. Her 1969 screenprints layered documentary material from Life, Newsweek and Time magazines – Corita’s “contemporary manuals of contemplation” – with song lyrics, poetry and quotes set against psychedelic day-glo colours. These include 1969’s if i, promoting compassion in the face of violence after Martin Luther King’s assassination.
Corita Kent, born Frances Elizabeth Kent and also known as Sister Mary Corita Kent, was an American Roman Catholic religious sister, artist, and educator. She worked almost exclusively with silkscreen, also known as serigraphy, pushing back the limitations of the two-dimensional medium by the development of innovative methods. Kent’s emphasis on printing was partially due to her wish for democratic outreach, as she wished for affordable art for the masses.Her artwork, with its messages of love and peace, was particularly popular during the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s.