Part 20 of Joy and Tranquillity digital guide

George Vasey describes Sister Corita Kent’s cookbook

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A black slipcase has been opened to reveal ten pamphlets with colourful front covers. Each includes recipes from countries including Japan, Germany, India, Greece and Spain, and they were published in the 1960s by a food company to use as a promotional tool.

Alongside the health benefits of a good diet, food has been central to the ways in which people socialise throughout history and for many, sharing food is one of life’s great pleasures.

Each cover in this slipcase has a proverb or quotation in a handwriting-like typeface that speaks to the joyful act of eating and cooking. These include a Japanese proverb that says: “Food must feast the eyes as well as the stomach” and the French saying, “To invite anyone to dine implies that we charge ourselves with his happiness all the time he is under our roof.”

Each pamphlet is printed with bold, painterly marks, with vibrant colours such as purple, sky blue, orange, yellow and ochre. The design, colour and typography suggest a joyous emotional state. This approach was typical of the object’s art director, the nun, activist and designer Sister Corita Kent, who was known for her use of uplifting slogans and bright colours to spread the message of positivity, community and spiritualism.

About the speaker

Photograph of George Vasey

George Vasey

(he/him)

George Vasey is a curator currently working on projects with Wellcome Collection and Leeds Art Gallery. He has curated exhibitions and projects in public, academic and commercial contexts. He has previously worked as a curator at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland and as a curatorial fellow at Newcastle University. In 2017 he co-curated the Turner Prize. His writing has been published in Art Monthly, Art Review, Burlington Contemporary, Frieze and Mousse, as well as numerous artists’ catalogues and books. He regularly teaches and has mentored artists, writers and curators for various organisations.