First NZ showing of ex-nun’s art likened to Andy Warhol’s

Works by a former Catholic nun Sr Corita Kent, IHM, will be the subject of a major exhibition at New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery later this year.

Sr Corita, who developed her art as an Immaculate Heart of Mary sister, made political pop art in the United States in the 1950s to the 1970s.

Her silkscreens were once compared to Andy Warhol’s.

Her banners and posters were featured at civil rights and anti-war rallies in the 1960s and ’70s, she made the cover of Newsweek and she even created a popular postage stamp.

The exhibition in New Plymouth, to run from December 18 to April 3, will be titled “Summer of Love”.

This will feature a large number of screen prints and designs.

Many of these are text-based, using pop culture as raw material and incorporating spiritual messages of love and peace

Gallery director Simon Rees said Sr Corita’s work has not been seen in New Zealand before.

He said her work embodied the most celebratory and high-colour messages of peace, love, and faith.

Her work was also inspired by the Second Vatican Council.

The sisters who worked alongside her at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles enthusiastically embraced reform.

But church authority in Los Angeles in the 1960s thought the sisters were moving too far, too fast and so pressure was applied.

Sr Corita left the college and its convent in 1968, but she never left the church. She moved to Boston to continue her art work.


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