338 pages, 9 ½ x 12 in.
270 color and 15 b/w illustrations
Published by the Harvard Art Museums
Distributed by Yale University Press
Known widely as a Catholic nun with an avant-garde flair, Corita Kent (1918–1986) has a personal legacy that has tended to overshadow her extensive career as an artist. This handsomely illustrated catalogue places Kent in her rightful position among the foremost figures of pop art, such as Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, and Roy Lichtenstein. Although Kent has been largely excluded from the academic and critical discourses surrounding 1960s American art, this publication reevaluates her importance and highlights how her work questioned and expanded the boundaries of the pop art movement.
Four essays and nearly 90 catalogue entries pull together a variety of topics—art history, religion, politics, linguistics, race, gender, mass media, and advertising—that influenced Kent’s life and work during the 1960s. A roster of eminent pop scholars delve into the relationship between her art and that of her contemporaries, and explore how her art both responded to and advanced the changes in modern-day Catholicism stemming from Vatican II. Over 200 vibrant images showcase Kent’s ingenious screenprints, which often combine handwritten text and commercial imagery. Offering an unparalleled, rigorous study of an artist who has been largely overlooked, this book is an important contribution to scholarship as well as a fascinating presentation of Kent and her work to a wider audience.
The related exhibition, Corita Kent and the Language of Pop, is on display at the Harvard Art Museums September 3, 2015 to January 3, 2016, before traveling to the San Antonio Museum of Art, where it will be on view February 13 to May 8, 2016.
Susan Dackerman is the former Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Curator of Prints at the Harvard Art Museums (2005–2014) and current consultative curator of prints; Julia Bryan-Wilson is associate professor of modern and contemporary art at the University of California, Berkeley; Richard Meyer is the Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History at Stanford University; and Jennifer L. Roberts is the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University.
Corita Kent and the Language of Pop has been made possible by support from Barbara Ketcham Wheaton and the late Robert Bradford Wheaton, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, Jeanne and Geoff Champion, John Stuart Gordon, Marjorie B. and Martin Cohn, Ellen von Seggern and Jan Paul Richter, the Rosenblatt Fund for Post-War American Art, the Anthony and Celeste Meier Exhibitions Fund, and the Harvard Art Museums Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and major corporate support from National Grid. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.
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