Three years before Covid-19, 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.



More important to be politically correct than to speak about injury and a gesture to contain its effects.





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.








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 before Covid-19, an amateur group played.




Let the beauty we love be what we do.

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







Hydrangea, late summer and early autumn, Pennsylvania







Sleeping Muse, marble, front and back, 1910-1911. 

Constantin Brancusi, 1856-1957, Romanian.  Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC








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








The Miracle, 1954, bronze. 

Marino Marini, 1901-1980, Italian.  Baltimore Museum of Art








Sawara false cypress in early autumn, Winterthur, Delaware







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 every year.  Morris Arboretum of the University  of Pennsylvania, 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







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






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








Mystery, 2009, watercolour on paper. 

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








Bronze sculpture, no name, date after 2000. 

Viorel Farcas, American born Romania 1950, active Philadelphia











2 thoughts on “Ground

    1. I am relieved, above all. to hear from you, Louis. At this Covid time and at this time of our own age, one does not know if people are continuing healthy.

      I take it you saw the comment which I have since removed and deleted.

      You saw there a perfect example of ‘Woke’. Woke is an epithet used usually against the Left. In fact people with opinions of all kinds on all kinds of subjects become agitated if you do not seem to be in their quadrant of the Woke universe. And the Woke universe extends well into the individual psychology of people as well as into the difficult history of the United States. You saw also the verbal violence and the insults.


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