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This ex-nun made some of the '60s most iconic art. And it's coming to Melbourne

Written by
Dee Jefferson

Pop-art pioneer and serigraph artist Corita Kent – aka Sister Corita Kent – is having a major survey show in Melbourne this year. A major figure of the 1960s counter culture (witness her Newsweek cover in 1967), Sister Corita combined her Catholic faith, social justice mission and love of pop culture in brightly-coloured, celebratory screen printed poster works that were text based

Sister Corita on the cover of Newsweek, December 25, 1967

Kent taught art at LA's (now defunct) Immaculate Heart College from 1946 to 1968, when she left the order and moved to Boston to keep making her art, galvanised by the anti-war and civil rights movements. Like Pop giant Andy Warhol, she borrowed from advertising, bill posters and pop culture to make her works, and quoted everything from the Bible to Thoreau, Jefferson Airplane, Philip Roth and Gertrude Stein. 

Sister Corita Kent ‘(give the gang) the clue is in the signs’ (1966) screen print
Courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles

In 1985, a year before she passed away from cancer, Kent designed the hugely popular rainbow-coloured 'Love' stamp – which sold 700 million copies. 

Sister Corita’s Summer of Love, opening at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne from November 22, will feature more than 70 prints made between 1962 and 1979, on loan from the Sister Corita Art Center in Los Angeles. The exhibition is curated by Simon Rees, director of Govett Brewster Art Gallery (New Plymouth, NZ) and was developed in partnership with Wellington City Gallery.

Check out the best art in Melbourne right now.

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