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When Was the Last Time You Saw a Miracle? Prints by Corita Kent

EXHIBITION: August 16 - October 21, 2022
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Text with multi-colors that reads "when was the last time you saw a miracle?"

Corita Kent, green up, 1966, serigraph, 30 x 36 inches. Photo credit: Northeast Document Conservation Center.

When Was the Last Time You Saw a Miracle? Prints by Corita Kent
August 16 - October 21

Playing around with words, taking them out of one context and putting them in another, is a way of preserving or restoring their life…” –Corita Kent 

Shaped by her experiences as an artist, teacher, and Catholic nun, Corita Kent used her art to bring people together and ignite social change. Her screenprints position words in innovative ways to awaken her viewers to new ideas. In When Was the Last Time You Saw a Miracle? a selection of prints from the 1950s and 1960s, which are drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, Kent combines vivid color with quotations, everyday slogans, and biblical scripture to create inspirational messages of hope and harmony for humankind.

Left side of image has a yellow rectangle figure with a black sideways s on top of a red circular blob, middle of the page has "go slo" in blue with a red heart above it and right side of the page has a yellow rectangle background with a red spot on top with an oval red blob in the middle and a red circle on the bottom

Corita Kent, Luke 2:14,51, 1963, serigraph, 30 x 36 inches. Photo credit: Northeast Document Conservation Center.

As an eighteen-year-old with a creative spirit, Kent entered the order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles, California, in 1936 and started her journey as an artist, teacher, and Catholic nun. She ran a screenprinting studio at Immaculate Heart College, teaching her students how to create art and often collaborating with them to produce prints, banners, and art-filled events. Many of her early prints from the 1950s demonstrate her interest in using words in innovative ways.

In 1962, the Second Vatican Council announced a series of reforms to the Catholic Church and encouraged religious leaders to make their practices more relevant to contemporary life. Kent followed suit and shifted her prints from pure scripture to language found in the everyday world. Billboards, street signs, and advertisements became her source material. She paired this language of consumer culture with quotations from poetry, music, and comic strips to create combinations that could nurture the soul. Kent left Los Angeles in 1968 and transitioned to a secular life but continued to produce screenprints into the 1980s. Her prints, whether viewed as religious teachings or everyday wisdom, remain inspirational messages for generations of viewers.

Come and see how Corita Kent can inspire you. This exhibition will run from August 16 - October 21, 2022. If you have any questions, please call 828.227.ARTS. 

Text that is printed in blue and orange with yellow stars around

Corita Kent, stars, 1967, serigraph, 30 x 36 inches. Photo credit: Northeast Document Conservation Center.

IMAGE TEXT: "that's what's needed don't you see? that! nothing else matters half so much. to reassure one another. to answer each other. Perhaps only you can listen to me and not laugh. Everyone has, inside himself...what shall I call it? A piece of good news! Everyone is...a very great, very important character! Yes, that's what's we have to tell them up there! Every man must be persuaded--even if he's in rags--that he's immensely, immensely important! Everyone must respect him; and make him respect himself too. They must listen to him attentively. Don't stand on top of him, don't stand in his light. But look at him with deference. Give him great, great hopes he needs them...especially if he's young. Spoil him! Yes, make him grow proud!
Ugo Betti"

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The WCU Fine Art Museum exhibitions and events are free and open to the public. Standard Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10AM-4PM, and Thursday, 10AM-7PM.

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