artists' books collection
International Signal code Alphabet, by corita kent
Radical American artist, educator and Catholic nun, Corita Kent’s (1918–86) provocative and elaborate serigraphy has entranced audiences for over four decades. Originally completed in 1968, Kent’s International Signal Code Alphabet encompasses a series of 26 kaleidoscopic serigraphs integrating scripture, typography, image, icon, and the maritime flags of the International Code of Signals.
Essayist Aaron Rose writes of Sister Corita's work, "Most artists from her generation, no matter how progressive they might have been in their day, appear outdated when placed in historical context. Even though they are now almost 50 years old, her artworks still feel contemporary. One aspect of this is that her work has always been rooted in total and absolute freedom…. She was not afraid of breaking rules. It was almost as though she threw out all the laws of design, typography and color. Even now, her body of work can be seen as a truly rebellious act, and the fact that these works were created by a Catholic nun makes them even more incredible. From an early age, as artists and citizens we are taught that there are certain norms in both life and art. We are told that if we only follow these systems our lives will be happy and successful. Corita was a teacher, and devoted to a life of the cloth; she was no stranger to tradition, but her works scream to the heavens that freedom is vital."