The Listening Heart: The Reforming Vision of Corita Kent

Father Berrigan talks about the way things mean, how communication is done in a world saturated with media. By way of “epiphany” (remember the Annunciation?), we are led to deepen and broaden questions about the nature of all things. Whew, that’s a boost for you. You could say advertising deforms relational words in marketing copy to sell drinks. But Corita reform bring them back into something relational. She brings these words back to the page, tweaking them and playing with them and putting them in dialogue with the words of a priest. The phrase “give the gang your best” began as a greeting, flattened into an advertisement, and through a Creative to treat it can make us think of the generosity and unexpected grace that can flow between friends. What does it mean to give to those who are dear to us? What does generosity look like outside the decadent habits of capitalism? What exactly is our best and how do you access it? Works that illustrate biblical scenes or theological ideas are fine, but do you see how rich this other approach can be? These prints testify to her curiosity, a dialogue between the public space and her own disposition to prayer, and by looking at her works, she invites us to retrace her steps. These prints do not represent a Christian scene, but they are the end result of a distinct Christian scene. Creative to treat and one reform the imagination. And we can participate, as artists, as viewers and as people.

And Corita wasn’t just making prints. Art is not just the object for sale on the gallery wall. Art is about community, about inspiring people to see the world in new ways, and about mutual curiosity about what might happen when we create things together. Not only did she teach and make prints, but she was also in regular conversation with people beyond the traditional church boundaries. She brought filmmakers and thinkers to the school to lecture and befriend the students. People like Alfred Hitchcock, Charles and Ray Eames, Buckminster Fuller and many more. And when the school asked her to lead the annual Mary’s Day Parade, she reformed it too, turning a suffocating, earnest liturgy into a joyful, expressive parade with handmade flags and cardboard signs. .

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