Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do






In the summer of 2017, someone wrote NIGGER on the corner nearest my house in the oldest part of Philadelphia.

Someone else bent down and overpainted this word with the word LOVE. 

A third person photographed the word LOVE on her I-Phone.  “I look at it,” she said. “It gives me strength.”

I posted thanks to the anonymous overpainter on a neighbourhood web site.

My post was taken down in minutes because I used the word NIGGER (referred to by the politically correct as the N-Word). 

When I questioned this censorship, I was informed that the word NIGGER should never be used on a public site.  I should simply not have mentioned it at all.

I was assured that it was not my sentiment that was being censored but that prohibited word.  

Round and round we go in politically correct and deadening circles.

This little blog is for my neighbor, Jamie, who (I found out several days after I wrote this), staring the word NIGGER in the eye, then substituted the word LOVE! 

With thanks.





Language is not Transparent, 1970, chalk on paint and wall.  Mel Bochner, American born 1940.  Los Angeles County Museum of Art on loan in 2016 to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC




Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, 1207-1273







……Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.

Take down a musical instrument.





Cosimo 1 de Medici as Orpheus-1

Cosimo I  de Medici, Duke of Florence as Orpheus, oil on panel, 1537-39.  Angelo Bronzini, 1503-1572. Oil on panel. Philadelphia Musuem of Art



The Lute Player, c. 1926, oil on canvas.  Valentin de Boulogne, 1591-1632, French.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY


Grover Washington, Jr.  Mural on north Broad Street, Philadelphia, 2001.  Designed and executed by Peter Pagas for the Philadelphia Mural Program


Sylvie’s Daughter, acrylic on canvas, 2017.  Ilene Spiewak,  Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia


Musicians, Jaipur, Rajasthan, 2010


Fairmount Waltz, a mural, 2006, in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia.  Designed and executed by D.S. Gordon for Philadelphia Mural Arts


Amateurs from Amherst College playing jazz at Reading Market, Philadelphia in August, 2017.  Most Fridays, an amateur group  plays.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.


Hydrangea, Summer 2016 and every year.  Pennsylvania



Sleeping Muse, marble, front and back, 1910-1911.  Constantin Brancusi, 1856-1957, Romanian.  Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC


Dance 1, 1909, oil on canvas. A study for a painting commissioned by the Russian Sergei Schukin now in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.  Henri Matisse, 1869-1954, French. MOMA, NY


Canyon, 1959, Oil, pencil, paper, metal, photograph, fabric,wood, canvas, buttons, mirror, taxidermied eagle, cardboard, pillow, paint tube and other materials . 

Robert Rauschenberg, 1925-2008, American.  MOMA, NY


Red cedar, Winterthur, 2016 and every year


Expulsion, 1955, oil on canvas.  Nora Speyer, American born 1922.  On display at the Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia in 2016/2017


Two Nudes in a Forest, 1939, oil on metal.  Frida Kahlo, 1907-1954, Mexican.  On display at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2015


Detail of Peasant Woman Seated On the Grass, 1883, oil on canvas. Georges Seurat, 1859-1891, French.  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY


A Japanese maple in early September, 2017.  Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia


Threnody II, 1987, acrylic on linen.  Leon Golub, 1922-2004.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia


Two Gentlemen Bowing to Each Other, Each Supposing The Other to be in a Higher Position, etching on paper, 1903.

  Paul Klee, 1879-1940, Swiss, Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY


Blue Ombré, 2016, mixed media sculpture.  Tasha Lewis, American.  Pennsylvania Academy of Art, Philadelphia


Mara’s Temptation of the Buddha and details, 1987. Y. G. Srimati, 1926-2007, Indian.  Exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum, NY in 2016/2017

The Buddha, taunted by grotesques, undergoes temptation at the hands of Mara and her daughters


Kneeling Angel, 1220-30, French.  Champlevé enamel, gilded copper.  Baltimore Art Museum


Vienna Ballet, 1990, oil on canvas.  Georg Baselitz, German born 1938.  Philadelphia Art Museum

Costume Study for Vaslav Nijinsky in the Role of Iksender in the Ballet “La Péri” (The Flower of Immortality), 1922; watercolour and gold and silver paints over graphite.

Léon Bakst (Russian, Grodno 1866–1924 Paris).  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY



Lilith, 1994, bronze with glass eyes.  Kiki Smith, American born 1964.  Metropolitan Museum, NY


Country Lovers, ink on paper, 1975.  Roland Ayers, 1932-2014, American.  On display at the Woodmere Museum of Art in 2016



Orchid Comb, 1903-1904, carved of a single piece of ivory.  The leaves are tiny pieces of enamel set in a metal framework (plique-à-jour) whose central veins are graduated diamonds. 

René Lalique, 1860-1945, French.  Baltimore Art Museum


The White Shirt, 1946, oil on cnvas.  Guillermo Meza, 1917-1997, Mexican.  Philadelphia Art Museum


Double Rift IV, 2016, rolled Paintstick and silica on paper, edition 9 of 12.  Richard Serra, American, born 1939.  Philadelphia Art Museum


Grey poplar trunk with ephemeral blues, Winterthur, Delaware, every year


Mystery, 2009, watercolour on paper.  Peter Paone, American, born 1936.  On display at the Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia I don’t recall when.

Crabapple, Winterthur, May 2014-05

Crabapple in bloom, May 2014, Winterthur, Delaware and every year


Young Mother in a Grotto, modeled in clay 1885, carved by Jean Escuela, French, 1881-1911.  Auguste Rodin, 1814-1917, French.  Philadelphia Art Museum


Maxwell Over, oil on canvas, 1992-93.  Ronald Bateman, American born Wales, 1947.  Woodmere Art Museum,  Philadelphia

Palitana 8

Jain worshippers, Palitana, Gujerat, India.  2010


Hydrangea, Winterthur, Delaware, 2017 and every year


5 thoughts on “Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do

  1. Avec plaisir meme si cette une petite histoire attristante. Je vais vous envoyer le mot originale dont Jamie m’a envoye un photo………On l’a inscrit dans le betume.

    Merci de votre interet! Sarah

  2. Pingback: Nigger | ricercare

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