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From Swords to Plowshares: World War II Metal Trench Art
On view through September 25, 2019
Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum
University Center, Michigan

“From Swords to Plowshares” offers a glimpse into the unusual phenomenon of objects known as “trench art.” The term “trench art” applies to any item made by soldiers, prisoners of war, or civilians from war material or any other material associated with armed conflict. The functional and decorative objects included in this exhibition focus on works in metal created during the First and Second World Wars.

Makers of trench art utilized spent artillery shells, bullet cartridges, shrapnel, aircraft parts, currency and other discarded metal scrap and applied materials. The ingenuity and skill range from primitive artillery shell vases to elaborately embellished lamps, cigarette lighters and ashtrays exhibiting extraordinary craftsmanship. The pieces are as varied and unique as the soldiers and civilians who created them.

Image: Decorated artillery shell, Hungarian. Courtesy Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum