Academic journal article Field


Academic journal article Field


Article excerpt

"The Getaway" (1939), also known as "The Fox

[The Get-a-way]," by Horace Pippin

Try to ignore the connections between the invasion of Poland,

a sorceress crushed beside the curb of a yellow brick road,

and a 1939 painting by a Negro folk artist of an escaping fox-

fox as sneak-thief, spirit-animal, shape-shifter, ambassador

of ghosts, fox as sign, how death steals and steals away.

Dark sky and torn clouds, the snow, the axe-colored creek,

Ol' Brer Fox with Massa's best settin' hen pinched tight

between pointy teeth, a little some'm-some'm the fox

thinks he is righteously owed and has artfully gained

with stealth, as history is ultimately a chronology

of grand larcenies and petty thefts, the bones of prey animals

picked clean by kit and vixen. History is the fox.

But art too is theft. Mark the rapacious brush (pointed

like a fox's tail). Mark the rapacious eye (vision's

feral skittishness). Mark the rapacious canvas

(like the henhouse, after the fox has left). …

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