Corita Kent, by Terry Grant

A discussion of words/text on art on the QuiltArt list suddenly sparked the memory of Corita Kent nee Sister Corita, the wonderful pop artist of the ’60s. Sister Corita was a nun, a member of the Immaculate Heart Community of Los Angeles and an art professor at Immaculate Heart University. Corita’s silkscreen posters, fusing text and image, provided a visual narrative for the re-energized spirituality of the era of Pope John the 23rd, particularly as it strove to engage people in their everyday lives. It also embraced social activism, independent of the strictures of the institutionalized (and, of course, male-dominated) Church. It was literate, joyful and inventive.

possible-loves.jpg

I urge you to read more about Sister Corita, especially if you were not aware of her work, and especially look at her images. For tonight, however, I especially want to share her rules for students and for teachers. I think they are worth reading and saving to read again.

  • Rule I

FIND A PLACE YOU TRUST AND THEN TRY TRUSTING IT FOR A WHILE.

  • Rule 2

GENERAL DUTIES OF A STUDENT:
PULL EVERYTHING OUT OF YOUR TEACHER.
PULL EVERYTHING OUT OF YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS.

  • Rule 3

GENERAL DUTIES OF A TEACHER:
PULL EVERYTHING OUT OF YOUR STUDENTS.

  • Rule 4

CONSIDER EVERYTHING AN EXPERIMENT.

  • Rule 5

BE SELF DISCIPLINED. THIS MEANS
FINDING SOMEONE WISE OR SMART AND
CHOOSING TO FOLLOW THEM.
TO BE DISCIPLINED IS TO FOLLOW IN A GOOD WAY.
TO BE DISCIPLINED IS TO FOLLOW IN A BETTER WAY.

  • Rule 6

NOTHING IS A MISTAKE. THERE’S NO WIN AND
NO FAIL. THERE’S ONLY MAKE.

  • Rule 7

The only rule is work.
IF YOU WORK IT WILL LEAD TO SOMETHING.
IT’S THE PEOPLE WHO DO ALL OF THE WORK ALL THE TIME
WHO EVENTUALLY CATCH ON TO THINGS.

  • Rule 8

DON’T TRY TO CREATE AND ANALYZE AT THE
SAME TIME. THEY’RE DIFFERENT PROCESSES.

  • Rule 9

BE HAPPY WHENEVER YOU CAN MANAGE IT.
ENJOY YOURSELF. IT’S LIGHTER THAN YOU
THINK.

  • Rule 10

“WE’RE BREAKING ALL OF THE RULES. EVEN
OUR OWN RULES. AND HOW DO WE DO THAT?
BY LEAVING PLENTY OF ROOM FOR X QUANTITIES.? JOHN CAGE

HELPFUL HINTS: ALWAYS BE AROUND. COME OR GO TO EVERY- THING. ALWAYS GO TO CLASSES. READ ANYTHING YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON. LOOK AT MOVIES CAREFULLY, OFTEN. SAVE EVERYTHING IT MIGHT COME IN HANDY LATER. THERE SHOULD BE NEW RULES NEXT WEEK.

juiciest-tomato.jpg

The juiciest tomato

break-the-rules.jpg

Break the rules

love21.jpg

Love

Corita Kent links:
http://www.designobserver.com/archives/020918.html

http://www.corita.org/

http://www.nmia.com/~paulos/corita.html

Wishing you all a happy Christmas!

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7 Responses to “Corita Kent, by Terry Grant”


  1. 1 lois dicosola January 6, 2008 at 9:25 am

    –Mary Abbot and I showed together at Guild Hall Museum in Easthampton years ago–
    good to see the ongoing interest in Abstract Expressionism–

    best, Lois DiCosola

  2. 2 Sheila December 21, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Rule 8
    DON’T TRY TO CREATE AND ANALYZE AT THE
    SAME TIME. THEY’RE DIFFERENT PROCESSES.

    Ah – I think this is my problem!

    Great list of rules. Thanks.

  3. 3 Olga December 21, 2007 at 9:25 am

    I am delighted to have been introduced to this artist, and to these rules. I particularly like the emphasis on discipline and work alongside enjoyment. Like Barb I am off now to explore Corita Kent’s work.

  4. 4 Barbara Douglas December 21, 2007 at 3:50 am

    Terry,
    Thank you for posting Corita Kent’s rules. These work as a philosophy of life as well as art. There is something in them that is so complelling, thought provoking. Read her rules, then look at her art… changes the way it is seen. A woman who knew how to express in the written word, in more ways than one. Going off to think on her words and work. -Barb-

  5. 5 gabrielleswain December 20, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Terry,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting Sister Corita’s rules.Last summer when I was teaching in Cambria, CA one of my students brought me a copy. Naturally, I have been searching for them since unpacking from that trip. What a perfect statement on being an artist.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  6. 6 Susie Monday December 20, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Thanks so much for posting these. I want to put a link to them from my blog as well. When I studied with Judith (one of Sister Corita’s students) she shared these rules, but I had long ago lost my copy. Another legacy from this study was using and making an eraser stamp alphabets. Corita often used what she called the “amen” alphabet in her work and all her students carved their own. This alphabet uses all cap letters except for the A M E N which are used in lower case. Look at some of her work and you will see how thia works!

  7. 7 Sandy Donabed December 20, 2007 at 4:38 am

    Thanks Terry- you took me back to 1966 when I first moved to Boston and the gas company painted their storage tanks with a Corita design of huge brushstrokes in rainbow colors. Things have changed a lot around Boston but those tanks are carefully repainted every few years and are visible for miles, a wonderful tribute to a great art teacher! Sandy


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