From Convent to Counterculture: Sister Corita and Inquiring Nuns

Co-presented by Corita Art Center

Join us for a closing reception on our patio featuring a gallery show of works by Sister Corita Kent!

With Baylis Glascock in person!

“I think maybe one of the most important rules about looking at films that I can think of is that you should never blink, that you should really keep your eyes straight on the film and never miss anything.” – Sister Corita Kent

Baylis Glascock’s 1967 documentary We Have No Art opens with these instructions from radical artist-teacher-nun Sister Corita, whose politically and spiritually-charged silkscreens were often compared to Andy Warhol’s, and continues to explore her progressive teaching methods and ideas at the former Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. Paired with Glascock’s Mary’s Day 1964, which documents Corita’s experiment in contemporizing the traditional springtime ceremony with Pop Art, the two films stand in clear admiration of the unorthodox nun, whose experimental practices attracted such luminaries as Charles & Ray Eames, Alfred Hitchcock, John Cage, and Buckminster Fuller to teach alongside her.

Echoing Jean Roach and Edgar Morin’s seminal documentary Chronicle of a Summer, Gordon Quinn and Gerald Temaner’s Inquiring Nuns wants to know “Are you happy?” Set to a Philip Glass score (his first for film!), this simple but disarming question is repeated over and over again by two wide-eyed young Sisters as they roam the streets of Vietnam War-era Chicago, approaching everyone from Sunday morning churchgoers to legendary comedian Stepin Fetchit to members of psych-rock duo “The Bubblegum Orgy.” The responses they receive range from rational to philosophical to frankly sexual, but what’s most striking about this 1968 time capsule is the recurring humanistic desire for a more peaceful planet.

We Have No Art, dir. Baylis Glascock, 1968, 16mm, 26 min.
Mary’s Day, dir. Baylis Glascock, 1964, digital presentation, 12 min.
Inquiring Nuns, dirs. Gordon Quinn and Gerald Temaner, 1968, 16mm, 66 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!