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The Cover
May 21, 2003

New Orleans: Ragging Home

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(19):2464. doi:10.1001/jama.289.19.2464

The multitalented, multifaceted American painter Romare Bearden (1912-1988) could have become a physician or a mathematician, a political commentator, a musician, a storyteller, a baseball pitcher, a philosopher, or a New York City social worker. Instead, he became an artist. Perhaps in so doing, however, he realized all of the possibilities. And perhaps it is not coincidental that his preferred medium was collage, the pasting together or combining of various shapes and materials onto a common background to form a unified whole. His medium was his message in another sense as well: The collages tell the story of the black experience in America throughout the 20th century. Reflecting the diversity of cultures, Bearden's works are a mosaic of contemporary American life. Up close, the separate pieces are difficult to interpret; in perspective, a brilliant, shining picture emerges.

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