EXILE Books is thrilled to showcase the revolutionary work of Sister Corita Kent. For the second of our series of rotating mini-exhibitions, Damn Everything But the Circus showcases several of Sister Corita’s artist’s books and limited edition silkscreen prints. Corita found inspiration in the day to day life that surrounded her- from a cereal box to poetry to rock music lyrics. She often appropriated the slogans, jingles, logos, and images of consumer culture, transforming slogans to deliver a distinctly spiritual message. She paved the way for artists to utilize graphic design, choosing to focus on the production of silkscreen prints to ensure that her work would be affordable, accessible, and widely distributed. Her profound spirit, creativity, and imagination was evident in her vibrant color palettes and powerful messages that resonate and still ring true today. The title of the exhibition, also the title of one of the books on view, is an excerpt from an E.E. Cummings poem and is a perfect synopsis for this delightful exhibition--“Damn everything but the circus! ...damn everything that is grim, dull, motionless, unrisking, inward turning, damn everything that won't get into the circle, that won't enjoy. That won't throw it's heart into the tension, surprise, fear and delight of the circus, the round world, the full existence...”
EXILE Books serves as a collaborative cultural platform that seeks to represent our diverse community through contemporary artist’s books, zines and their publishers. Through its public programs, EXILE not only educates South Florida about small press and literary arts, but also actively demonstrates the history of artists who have engaged with publishing as a medium. EXILE is pleased to continue our ongoing partnership with the Sackner Archive of Concrete & Visual Poetry to maintain public access to this historic collection.
About Corita Kent
Corita Kent (1918–1986) was an artist, educator, and advocate for social justice. At age 18 she entered the religious order Immaculate Heart of Mary, eventually teaching in and then heading up the art department at Immaculate Heart College. Her work evolved from figurative and religious to incorporating advertising images and slogans, popular song lyrics, biblical verses, and literature. Throughout the ‘60s, her work became increasingly political, urging viewers to consider poverty, racism, and injustice. In 1968 she left the order and moved to Boston. After 1970, her work evolved into a sparser, introspective style, influenced by living in a new environment, a secular life, and her battles with cancer. She remained active in social causes until her death in 1986. At the time of her death, she had created almost 800 serigraph editions, thousands of watercolors, and innumerable public and private commissions.
1 Damn Everything But the Circus by Sister Corita Kent. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Canada, 1970. Hard cover book, first edition, signed, with 29 prints in slipcase.
2 To Believe In Man by Sister Corita Kent. Harper & Bros, New York, 1970. Hard cover book.
3 To Believe in Things by Sister Corita Kent. Harper & Bros, New York, 1970. Hard cover book.
4 To Believe in God by Sister Corita Kent. Harper & Bros, New York, 1970. Hard cover book.
5 Handle with Care, 1967. Postcard
6 Mary’s Day Procession, 1964. Postcard.