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The first major museum exhibition to survey Corita Kent's entire career features over 200 prints
Installation view, Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent, Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, 2013. Courtesy of the Tang Museum at Skidmore College and Corita Art Center, Los Angeles.

CLEVELAND, OH.- MOCA Cleveland opened its summer 2014 exhibitions on June 27 with the first full-scale survey of more than thirty years of work by artist and social activist Corita Kent (1918-1986) and a solo exhibition of recent work by Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck. The season’s exhibitions present distinctive visions by two artists whose works demonstrate innovation within different mediums. Corita’s visually eye-catching use of text continues to influence contemporary artists, while Op de Beeck uses video and photography to engage with the dreamlike qualities of image-saturated reality.

Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent (June 27, 2014–August 31, 2014) Organized by The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, New York. Ian Berry and Michael Duncan, curators

The summer season kicked off with Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent, a survey of over 30 years of the artists’ work. A teacher at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles and a civil rights, feminist, and anti-war activist, Corita was one of the most popular American graphic artists of the 1960s and 1970s. Throughout her rich and varied career, she made thousands of posters, murals, and signature serigraphs that combine her passions for faith and politics.

The exhibition features over 200 serigraph prints, including early abstractions and text pieces, as well as more lyrical works made in the 1970s and 1980s. In addition, the exhibition presents rarely shown drawings and photographs Corita used for teaching and documentary purposes. These works provide a telling and visually stimulating record of 1960s politics, visual styles, and pop culture. Reflecting larger questions and concerns of the 1960s, her images remain iconic symbols of that turbulent time. Corita's humble, collaborative approach to art-making—combining faith, politics, and teaching with messages of acceptance and hope—continues to be a potent influence for many artists working today.

An extensive catalogue co-published by DelMonico–Prestel accompanies the exhibition, bringing together for the first time three decades of Kentʼs artwork with a selection of her legendary assignments, excerpts from her own writing, and statements from those influenced by her art and spirit.

Jill Snyder, MOCA Cleveland’s Executive Director, says, “Corita’s work is vibrant, passionate, and poetic. The love and urgency she felt for humanity comes through so strongly in her work. It inspires viewers to consider their own engagement with the world; what they feel is important and the difference that individuals can make.”

A special addition to the exhibition at MOCA Cleveland is Corita’s Beatitudes Banner, which was commissioned for the Vatican Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. After the Fair, the banner was acquired by the United Church of Christ, whose National Headquarters were relocated to Cleveland from New York in 1990. Forty feet long and four feet high, the banner includes beatitudes, biblical teachings from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, along with quotes from Pope John XXIII and John F. Kennedy. The United Church of Christ worked closely with MOCA Cleveland on the conservation of the banner, and preparation for its first display to a broad public audience in over 40 years.

Hans Op de Beeck: Staging Silence (2) (June 27, 2014–August 31, 2014) Organized by Rose Bouthillier, Associate Curator

Concurrently on view in the Toby Devan Lewis Gallery is a solo exhibition of work by Hans Op de Beeck. Op de Beeck works in a variety of media, including video, photography, sculpture, installation, painting, and writing. He often introduces strange elements to familiar locations and characters, creating an uncertain sense of time and place.

Op de Beeck’s exhibition at MOCA Cleveland features his latest video work, Staging Silence (2), as well as a related suite of new photographic works. Expanding on the intricacy of Staging Silence (2009), the work shows a series of miniature dioramas being seamlessly assembled. Only the hands and arms of the off-screen builders are visible, while their actions, and the settings they create, fade in and out of view. A snow-covered forest, modernist apartment, and futuristic cityscape, along with many other scenes, are created using everyday materials, dramatic lighting effects, and tricks of perspective. Watching the illusions take shape, viewers are pushed between material reality and shadowy, dreamlike environments, which call up mysterious stories.

Rose Bouthillier, Associate Curator at MOCA Cleveland, says “Op de Beeck’s work explores how one’s vision of the world is shaped by a blend of genre, imagination, and memory. Staging Silence (2) carries you through a dynamic series of places, which, though miniature, appear for a moment as fully habitable worlds. These shifts in scale and absorbing illusions create a breathless visual journey, transporting the viewer.”

Op de Beeck’s exhibition continues MOCA Cleveland’s efforts to bring the latest works by important international artists to audiences in Northeast Ohio.

Hans Op de Beeck (1969, Turnhout, Belgium) lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; Tampa Museum of Art, Florida; Kunstverein Hannover, Germany; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania; and The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. In 2006 Op De Beeck was the Winner of the Prize Eugène Baie, and in 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Young Belgian Painters Award.

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