Museum exhibit displays work of Detroit artist

The newest exhibit to be featured in the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum is “SOS.”

Joannah Lodico, the community engagement catalyst for the museum, joined in July 2019 and assists with communications, community engagement, visitor experience and program development.

Lodico said she was inspired to join the museum and its work when she heard of Fredericks’ credo from 1955.

“I love people, for I have learned through many experiences, both happy and sad, how beautiful and wonderful they can be,” Fredericks said. “Therefore, I want more than anything in the world to do sculpture which will have real meaning for other people, many people, and might in some way encourage, inspire or give them happiness.”

Lodico said the sculptures in the museum show real depth and meaning, and that they strive to show the personal connection Fredericks had with all of his sculptures as well as the community.

The newest exhibit is another addition to Fredericks’ legacy. It is currently open to the public and will remain open until Jan. 16, 2021.

The “SOS” exhibit is based on the work of Mark Beltchenko, a sculptor from the Detroit area who is talented in multiple media.

“Working in stone, steel, aluminum, wood and the non-ferrous metals, his work serves as a meditation on the good and bad in our current lives: the environment, political hypocrisy, positive growth, greed and human narcissism,” Lodico said.

“The code [SOS] is often used to denote phrases such as “Save Our Ship” or “Save our Souls,” messages (Beltchenko) found reverberating through these sculptures that date back as early as 2006 to as recent as May 2020,” Lodico said. “This exhibition seeks to promote re ection on our country’s past as well as its present day. The Museum hopes for viewers to have an inner dialogue as well as dialogue with others about this exhibition.”

Lodico said the art in the exhibit can be considered through the perspective of the artist himself or from their own personal perspective.

“Exploring different ideas through art is an important part of processing the human experience and however our ideas and experiences may align or differ,” Lodico said.

Lodico also said that while Beltchenko is not a loud man, his work screams with an urgency to its viewers.

That is not to say that his work is obvious, rather, it is not,” she said. “It requires effort. One must spend time with the work and breathe into it. You may not immediately recognize the discourse; however, allow yourself to linger and as you linger the layers begin to unfold and reveal their meticulous detail and dialogue.”

COVID-19 complicates the promulgation of Beltchenko’s work, but Lodico said the museum is doing what it can to help spread the word about the new exhibit and communicate Beltchenko’s ideas and artwork.

“For this exhibition, the Museum will be publishing video interview snippets with Beltchenko about his work over the next four months,” she said. “We will also be offering a writing contest where students write their own interpretation of Beltchenko’s work.”

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