Breaking A Habit: Sister Corita

Aaron Rose's Documentary On the Nun Who Stormed the Art World

If The Sound of Music and Sister Act taught us anything, it was that Catholic nuns are expected to pray and sing, in that order. But the story of Sister Mary Corita Kent rewrites that script. A teacher at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles from 1947 to 1968, Sister Corita was a Pop Art pioneer. Her silkscreen prints created an arresting new visual language for spirituality in the early 60s, praising the Almighty by co-opting typograpy, advertising slogans and the bright colors of billboards and local streets.  Though she would often work in collaboration with her students—who she encouraged to mount group exhibitions such as 1965’s decidedly anti-Vietnam Christmas show, "Peace On Earth"—she would spend each August creating her own art work. Her designs were sometimes controversial: 1964’s "The Juciest Tomato of All" (a paean to the Virgin Mary using a slogan from a Del Monte can) was deemed sacrilegious by the cardinal of Los Angeles and banned from public display. But her work nonetheless had a unique appeal that made her something of a celebrity, beloved by students, Christians and the art world alike—famous friends of hers included John Cage and Charles and Ray Eames, who were among the illustrious creative she invited to lecture at her college. Today we present an exclusive clip from Become a Microscope, a new documentary about Sister Corita’s life and designs from Los Angeles-based curator, musician, artist and longtime Sister Corita devotee Aaron Rose.

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Conversations (1)

  • sharmac
    good article

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