Robert SestokRock and Roll, 1978-1979. Painted canvas, cable, and fluorescent lights.

Hung high in the Cobo Center (Detroit) is Robert Sestok’s Rock and Roll wall relief from 1979. The work is on long-term loan from the Wayne State University Art Collection. It is a vibrant abstract relief that features all the signatures of Sestok’s art: linear and formal elements mingling together to radiate a subtle energy emphasized by the LED colored lights that illuminate from the back. The wall sculpture looks to be a collage of shaped canvases, each layered with strokes of paint. A cable wire weaves around these shapes, rhythmically bringing them together into a single work of art. This energy echoes that of “rock’n’roll,” and it contributes a lively presence at the Cobo Center.


Robert Sestok has been creating in Detroit for five decades. Although known well as an artist of the Cass Corridor movement in the 1960s and 70s, he has had no trouble making an individual name for himself in recent years. He has a strong interest in creating art for public spaces, evident in his establishing of the City Sculpture Park off of Alexandrine Street in Midtown, Detroit. Rock and Roll is just one of many the Cobo Center has on view. It was gifted to the WSU Art Collection in 1992 by James F. Duffy Jr. 

Written by Danielle Cervera Bidigare