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New book "International Signal Code Alphabet" by Corita Kent to be published by Atelier Editions
e is for everyone, Corita Kent, 1968. Courtesy of Corita Art Center/Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles.

NEW YORK, NY.- Atelier Éditions announces International Signal Code Alphabet by Corita Kent, a forthcoming monograph produced in collaboration with the Corita Art Center, releasing June 1st 2018.

Radical American artist, educator and once-devout Catholic nun, Sister Mary Corita Kent’s provocative serigraphy has entranced audiences for over four decades. Originally completed in 1968, Kent’s 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. As 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of both the series’ completion, and the centennial of Kent’s birth, this celebratory publication reproduces Kent’s International Signal Code Alphabet for the very first time in fine art monograph format. An introduction is authored by Corita Art Center Director, Dr. Ray Smith, accompanied by a foreword authored by Kent scholar, artist & curator Aaron Rose.

Special Events: The monograph will be launching at Arcana: Books on the Arts in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 19th, 4-6pm. A panel discussion on Corita’s work and Activism in Art is also scheduled during the San Francisco Art Book Fair held at Minnesota Street Project in late July 2018, with moderator Joseph Becker, curator of Design & Architecture at SFMoMA.

Contemporary of luminaries Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, Saul Bass, Andy Warhol, and Charles and Ray Eames, Kent’s avant-garde oeuvre is renowned for, and characterised by, her innovative entwining of advertising, photojournalism, and commercial signage with Christian iconography, scripture, literature and verse. By 1968, she had shown in over 230 exhibitions and her work was collected in public and private collections around the world. Throughout the 1960’s, her work became increasingly political, urging viewers to consider poverty, racism, and injustice. Always resistant to the line between fine and commercial work, Corita took commissions large and small during her career, everything from greeting cards to book jackets and illustrations, posters, and billboards. Succeeding her departure from Los Angeles’ Immaculate Heart College, Kent’s Alphabet series, completed in 1968, were the inaugural serigraphs created within her now-secular life.

After 1970, Corita’s 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, hundreds of watercolors, and innumerable public and private commissions.

Upon her death, she bequeathed her copyrights and unsold art to the Immaculate Heart Community, who in turn created the Corita Art Center. With thousands of original serigraphs, watercolors and ephemera, the Corita Art Center is the largest and most comprehensive archive of Corita’s work.

Realised in 1968 during Corita’s sabbatical year, which eventually lead to her leaving religious life, her two alphabet series, International Signal Code Alphabet and the Circus Alphabet (‘Damn Everything but the Circus’, published in 1970), were a turning point in Corita’s artistic practice. Inspired by the nautical flags of Cape Cod, the primary coloured International Signal Code Alphabet saw her keen usage of colours, icononography and quotations come together in a novel series of 26 silkscreen prints.

The series is reproduced thanks to private collectors Devane Clarke, Johnnie Clarke, and Siri Gopal Singh, in collaboration with the Corita Art Center. A full set is also held within the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art collection.

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