Sister Corita’s Summer of Love at Ian Potter Museum

Some of the most compelling, psychedelic pop art of the 1960s was created by a nun.

Sister Corita Kent was at the forefront of the Catholic Church’s attempts to reinvigorate its image – but her work isn’t like any religious art you’ve ever seen. Kent’s kinetic screen-prints draw on the mainstream media, protest imagery and poetry to deliver a message that has more to do with compassion and humanism than religious doctrine. Corita was something of a media celebrity in the ’60s and ’70s but fell into obscurity. This is a rare chance to see her work in Australia. After, go upstairs to a show that complements Corita’s work, Don’t Be Too Polite, a collection of political activism posters made by Australian printmakers from 1977 to 2001.

Sister Corita’s Summer of Love is at the Ian Potter Museum of Art until March 19.
art-museum.unimelb.edu.au

Shut Up and Paint at NGV

David Hockney isn’t the only reason to visit the NGV right now. Shut Up and Paint, a mixed collection from the NGV’s archives, takes its name from a Hockney quote and gives us a taste of modern and contemporary painting from Australia and the rest of the world.

There’s a piece from one of Gerhard Richter’s abstract works (a canvas of scratchy, smeared oil paint), some David Shrigleys (flippant, existentialist cartoons) and an early Hockney (The Second Marriage from 1963 is far darker and more abstract than any of the recent work in the big show downstairs). And it’s not just flat canvases being shown. There are paintings on sculpture, polyurethane casts, textiles and coloured beeswax. It’s an energising, colourful look at painting’s versatility.

Shut Up and Paint is at NGV International until February 12.
ngv.vic.gov.au

Absent Bodies at Anna Schwartz Gallery

For Chiharu Shiota’s Absent Bodies, half a room is filled with an intricate tangle of blood-red string. It’s stapled to the walls and tacked to the floor, knotted endlessly. They could be veins, or tendons, or a spider’s web. Your eyes sink into the depths, trying to find a point of focus, and at some points, you can see through the web. At the back of the room there are two chairs. This installation seems to have grown organically in this room, and couldn’t exist anywhere else in the same form.

Absent Bodies is at Anna Schwartz Gallery until December 17.
annaschwartzgallery.com

Mike Kelley at Neon Parc

American punk artist Mike Kelley doesn’t get talked about much these days, but this show at Brunswick’s Neon Parc shows he’s been pretty influential. There are two components to the show: a series of odd, grimy video pieces addressing everything from child abuse to the Oedipus myth, and nine large banners hanging from the ceiling. The banners are the big draw; they use motifs of skulls, dicks, swastikas and clovers, all painted in a rough, adolescent style. While the banners hang from the ceiling like flags, giving the impression you’ve walked into a deranged rally, the video works are presented on scrappy old TVs perched atop freecycled scrap like an old barbeque and a mattress.

Mike Kelley is at Neon Parc Brunswick until December 17.
neonparc.com.au

Kiri at Daine Singer

Melbourne artist Zoe Croggon’s new show, Kiri, is a suite of monochrome collages that juxtapose images of flesh with artificial surfaces. The rough essentials of collage are left on show – the blurred and blown-up images look to have come from photocopies – but each collage is about the crossover between each cut, for instance the curve of a limb that becomes the bend of a staircase. Both the flesh and not-flesh are so close up they seem abstract, but the overall effect makes both of them sensual and intertwined. This is an ongoing fascination for Croggon – she’s been working with these themes and techniques for years. Kiri is the most intimate realisation of her ideas.

Kiri is at Daine Singer until December 16.
dainesinger.com