y why worry (from circus alphabet)

y why worry (from circus alphabet)
Corita Kent

Artist Biography
Acquisition Number: 2022.4
Medium: Serigraph
Size: 22 3/4 x 22 3/4 in.
Date: 1968
Credit: Purchased by the Canton Museum of Art

"y why worry" is one serigraph from a series of 30 made by Corita Kent titled "Circus Alphabet." With 26 letters of the alphabet and 4 serigraphs spelling out "DAMN" "EVERYTHING" "BUT THE" "CIRCUS," Kent created the series in Boston in 1968 while she was on a sabbatical from Immaculate Heart College, shortly before she would seek dispensation from her vows. In Kent's handwriting across the bottom of "y why worry" it reads "Why worry? I am an old man, and have had many troubles, but most of 'em never happened. Old Salt, Cape Cod, Mass." This quote about an old man's troubles is taken from a 1930s postcard from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. "Old Salt" refers to a fisherman, who is depicted in an illustration on the front of the postcard. The "Circus Alphabet" series depicts a bold, fluorescent color scheme, an abundance of text and quotes, and a variety of circus imagery that conveys a sense of tragedy and activism but also humor and hope. Appropriating imagery from sources such as the archives of The Ringling Museum of the Circus and "The Handbook of Early Advertising Art" (1956) by Clarence P. Horning, Kent's series reflects her fascination with the circus, a theme that she often incorporated into her classroom and teaching practices. Kent stated that her alphabet series worked as individual prints and as one series. The full set of prints was later reproduced in a 1970 book, "Damn Everything but the Circus" published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.