Corita Kent, song about the greatness, 1964, silkscreen, edition of 50. SFU ArtCollection, Purchase, 1970. Photo: Lief Hall. 

Episode 5 | July 14
Ken Lum on Corita Kent

“I think there are a lot of really interesting figures who are outliers to the system of art, who offer all kinds of lessons for the art world.”

Ken Lum chronicles the influence and impact of Corita Kent (1918 - 1986), an American artist, educator, and religious sister who, as he argues, was "in many ways the embodiment of pop.” Kent produced a large body of graphically powerful serigraphs that often incorporated song lyrics, biblical verses, literature, advertising imagery and slogans. Lum explains how the focus of Kent’s work became increasingly political throughout the 1960s, particularly concerning urgent issues of poverty and racism. While contextualizing her life and work in relation to her cultural moment, Lum considers her position as a relative outlier within the art world, and a frequently overlooked but important voice in the field of pop art.

Ken Lum is a Canadian artist based in Philadelphia, USA, where he is Chair of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. He has a long exhibition record as well as an extensive record of essay publications and curatorial activities. 



[Image Description: An offset lithograph on newsprint presents a grid of 16 black and white photographic portraits; of diverse youth ranging in age from infants to young adults. Each portrait is closely cropped, where the portraits’ smiling faces gaze outward in various directions.]