Nun whose work hangs alongside Warhol is celebrated in vibrant show at Harvard

National Grid gas tank painted by Corita Kent.
National Grid briefly exposed an old Boston Gas logo last year to repaint the tank bearing a design by Corita Kent. (Photo: Lee Toma)

The pop artist who painted the Boston Gas tank alongside Interstate 93 in Boston, creating an instant landmark, is getting a special exhibition starting Thursday at Harvard.

U.S. Postal Service’s popular “Love” stamp
The artist’s popular “Love” stamp.

Corita Kent, an artist, educator and Roman Catholic nun (and also known as Sister Mary Corita) isn’t getting just a showing of her vibrant works alongside peers of the 1960s and ’70s that include Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Roy Lichtenstein; the oral history project StoryCorps will be collecting stories about Kent and her “rainbow swash” tank design in its MobileBooth at Harvard University’s Science Center, for preservation at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress; and there will be free entrance, a panel discussion, a reception and more.

Kent lived in Boston from 1968 until her death in 1986, and her painting of the gas tank was done in 1971.

“Corita Kent and the Language of Pop” opens with a celebration Thursday, with free open hours in the galleries from 5 to 9 p.m.; the panel discussion with curator Susan Dackerman, Harvard professor Jennifer Roberts, history of art and architecture graduate student Taylor Walsh and American studies graduate student Eve Payne is at 6 p.m.; the celebratory reception in the Calderwood Courtyard follows. StoryCorps will be set up on the plaza Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sign up here. The exhibit runs through Jan. 3.

The Harvard Art Museums are at 32 Quincy St., near Harvard Square. Information is here.

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