© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2008.142
People
Corita Kent (Sister Mary Corita), American (Fort Dodge, Iowa 1918 - 1986 Boston, Massachusetts)
Title
if i
Classification
Prints
Work Type
print
Date
1969
Culture
American
Physical Descriptions
Technique
Screen print
Dimensions
image: 57.2 x 29.4 cm (22 1/2 x 11 9/16 in.)
sheet: 58.6 x 30.3 cm (23 1/16 x 11 15/16 in.)
frame: 74 x 58.7 x 2.5 cm (29 1/8 x 23 1/8 x 1 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l.: Corita
  • (not assigned): Printed text reads: BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL / "I challenge you today to see that his spirit never dies... and that we go forward from this time, which to me represents CRUCIFIFIXIION on to a REDEMPTION and a RESURRECTION OF THE SPIRIT Mrs. Martin Luther King / He learns that the "yes" or "on" elements of energy cannot be experienced without contrast with the "no" or "off, " and therefore that darkness and death are by no means the mere absence of light and life but rather their origin. In this way the fear of death and nothingness is entirely overcome. Because of this startling discovery, so alien to our normal common sense, he worships the divinity under its female form rather than its male form-for the female is symbolically representative of the negative, dark, and hollow aspect of the world, without which the masculine, positive, light, and solid aspect cannot be manifested or seen... he discovers that existence is basically a kind of dancing or music-an immensely complex energy pattern which needs no explanation other than itself-just as we do not ask what is the meaning of fugues... Energy itself, as William Blake said, is eternal delight - and all life is to be lived in the spirit of rapt absorption in an arabesque of rhythms. ...In Western Civilization we over accentuate the positive, think of the negative as "bad," and thus live in a frantic terror of death and extinction which renders us incapable of "playing" life with an air of noble and joyous detachment. Failing to understand the musical quality of nature, which fulfills itself in an eternal present, we live for a tomorrow which never comes... But through understanding the creative power of the female, of the negative, of empty space, and of death, we may at last become completely alive in the present. Alan Watts
  • inscription: l.l.: 68-69-76
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
Standard Reference Number
Corita Art Center Cat. #69-76
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund
Copyright
© Courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles
Accession Year
2008
Object Number
2008.142
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

Julie Ault, Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita, Four Corners Books (London, 2006), p 81

Susan Dackerman, ed., Corita Kent and the Language of Pop, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2015), pp. 282-284, cat. 80, ill. (color)

Exhibition History

DISSENT!, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/11/2006 - 02/25/2007

Corita Kent and the Language of Pop, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/03/2015 - 01/03/2016; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, 02/13/2016 - 04/13/2016

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu