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Published on Jul 1, 2016
When Skip (William) Davis, a Detroit area art collector, asked me some time ago if I might consider an exhibition based on the theme of “master and student” that would show the work of two well-known and respected Michigan artists, I asked him to tell me more. Subsequently, he sent me an exhibition concept proposal, which I responded to enthusiastically. Skip’s proposal read: “Detroit sculptors Jay Holland and Sergio De Giusti are monuments themselves in the art world. Not only have they both been recognized internationally for their mastery in the classical genre, but they have distinguished themselves as artists, instructors and mentors, and as contributors to the Detroit art scene for over six decades.” Sergio De Giusti and Jay Holland met in 1960 when Sergio was a high school student and Jay was teaching sculpture classes at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Jay was initially attracted to Sergio’s Italian accent (Sergio came to Detroit from Italy in 1954), and later the older artist could see a special talent in his nineteen-year-old student. That sculpture class with Jay helped prepare Sergio for his admission to Wayne State University in 1961 to study sculpture. Jay and Sergio saw each other regularly for many years. Sergio often visited Jay and his wife at their home in Birmingham, where there was always music and serious discourse about art and sculpture. When Jay took a year-long sabbatical from the College for Creative Studies, Sergio took over teaching his classes. Both artists share a great interest in music. Jay loved Russian opera and introduced Sergio to Modest Mussorgsky’s masterpiece Borís Godunóv and Enrico Caruso’s Italian opera singing. Sergio recalls Jay playing Caruso’s music for his students in all of his classes. The friendship that began in 1960 at the DIA and continued through all of these years seems to be based on a love of art and classical music, and a mutual respect for each other. As Jay says, “we are friends forever after.“ While Jay and Sergio have been in several group shows together, FRAGMENTA is only their second two-person exhibition. It is a pleasure to bring together a body of work by two renowned sculptors in a Museum where the works of a great American master, Marshall Fredericks, reside.