Marshall Fredericks’s Detroit sculptures capture the spirit of the Motor City and its dramatic transformation from the 1950s to the present day. In this book, Janna Jones analyzes eight of these enormous works of public art, situating them and their structures in metro Detroit’s distinctive midcentury milieu and bringing much-needed critical attention to this sculptor’s oeuvre. Sadly, some of these artworks have suffered along with the city as it shrank from its postwar zenith. Both the buildings and the sculptures erected for them deserve to be rescued from neglect, and then maintained and preserved for the future.
This highly readable urban, cultural, and visual history enacts “discursive preservation” to track the rise and fall of midcentury Detroit through Marshall Fredericks’s monumental sculptures. Deftly combining storytelling, archival research, and advocacy, Janna Jones makes a compelling case for the public artscape of one of the U.S. Midwest’s great cities as communal memory.
—Jennifer L. Jenkins, professor and research social scientist, Southwest Center, University of Arizona
Public art can help narrate collective hopes and fears. Janna Jones’s engaging analysis of Marshall Fredericks’s sculptures shows how this important artist is linked to Detroit’s history and imagined future.
—Daniel Makagon, author of Underground: The Subterranean Culture of DIY Punk Shows, and professor in the College of Communication, DePaul University
Through a lively account of Marshall Fredericks’s major works, Janna Jones narrates a fascinating social history of Detroit, one of America’s most emblematic cities, set among a vernacular landscape of public parks, railway stations, and shopping malls that were home to both Fredericks’s accessible sculptures and the common folk who most enjoyed them.
—Tim Simpson, author of Betting on Macau: Casino Capitalism and China’s Consumer Revolution