Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to inaugurate its online viewing room with a presentation of historical works by Corita Kent.
Corita Kent (1918–1986) was an artist, educator, and advocate for social justice. At age 18, she entered the religious order Immaculate Heart of Mary. After teaching art at Immaculate Heart College for many years, she became the chair of the art department in 1964. While her first prints consisted of dense, figurative compositions with religious themes and iconography, by 1962 her work evolved into a singular mode of Pop art. Reflecting a wide breadth of disciplinary interests, her bright compositions were not limited to the staple imagery and language of consumer and mass culture but also integrated philosophy, literature, street signage, scripture, and song lyrics in bold text and abstract forms. Throughout the ‘60s, her work became increasingly political, urging viewers to consider poverty, racism, and social injustice. In 1968, she sought dispensation from her vows and moved to Boston following mounting pressure from the conservative Archdiocese of Los Angeles, as well as exhaustion from her increasingly public profile. In the 1970s, influenced by living in a new environment and a secular life, Kent's work evolved into a sparser, introspective style. At the time of her death in 1986, she had created almost 800 screenprint editions, thousands of watercolors, and innumerable public and private commissions.