Corita Kent, also known as Sister Mary Corita Kent, was a world famous pop artist Google celebrated with a Google Doodle who would have been 96 on Thursday if she was still alive. The Iowa-born artist became a Catholic nun in 1936, took art classes, and earned a masters degree in art history. When Corita Kent left the order she had belonged to in 1968, and decided to become an artist, the art world was changed forever.
Kent became most famous for the silk screens she painted. One of the things Kent became known for was juxtaposing written messages of spirituality right next to symbols of consumerism prevalent in our culture.
Besides becoming a renowned artist, Corita Kent was also an activist. She was a strong proponent of women’s rights, anti-war groups and issues, and civil rights. Though Corita Kent passed away in 1986, she and her artwork made a big impression in the art world that still reverberates down to today.
The Google Doodle that Google used in honor of Corita Kent pays homage to her artwork and screen printing techniques. Kent created literally thousands of serigraphs, murals, and posters which were in support of the movements she was most concerned with, like the anti-war movement of the 1960s through the 1970s, women’s rights, and civil rights.
Corita Kent is a very important pioneer in American graphic arts. Just last summer, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, a large scale survey of her artwork debuted to appreciative audiences who flocked to see her artwork.
Though Corita Kent was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, she and her family later moved to Los Angeles. Kent’s birth name was actually Frances Elizabeth Kent. When Corita became a nun in 1936, she joined the Roman Catholic order of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
While a nun with the order, her love of art grew and was nurtured and she also taught art there before she eventually left and became recognized as one of the most influential American graphic artists of her time.
As a nun, Corita Kent became one of the first nuns who wore casual clothes similar to any other woman. Some conservative Catholics criticized her for this and her supporting of political and civil rights movements she considered to be vitally important.
Kent communicated her messages of hope, love and faith through the use of typography and bright colors. The silkscreen print maker often would incorporate corporate slogans and logos into her designs. She would use them to create her art and lend it a spiritual depth. During the social upheaval of the 1960s, the art of Kent developed a popular following.
Kent moved to Boston in 1968 and opened up her own art gallery. That become her home until 1986, when Corita Kent succumbed to cancer and died. One of the pieces of art that Kent became well-known for was the “Love” stamp that she designed for the U.S. Postal Service in 1986, the year she passed away.
For her many contributions to art and her support of numerous civil rights movements, Google decided to pay homage to this influential artist through a Google Doodle. Through Google Doodles, temporary changes to the Google logo, the company has previously honored many women and men who have been leaders in their fields, like famous authors, and scientists. On Thursday, Google honored Corita Kent with one such Google Doodle.
Written By Douglas Cobb