Goodyear Gallery Art & Artifact Exhibit: Michael Grothusen

Michael Grothusen’s Art & Artifact exhibit opened September 1st at Dickinson College’s Goodyear Gallery, featuring 4 cast concrete and steel pieces. 

Influenced by Ancient Greek Cycladic art, the exhibit explores Grothusen’s fascination with the ways in which society thinks about historic art and the mobility of art. “Longneck” in particular is built floor-to-ceiling and is reminiscent of the Ancient Greek Statues that were built into pillars and helped to hold up buildings. Grothusen explained that he was inspired by the ethics and morals of moving historic artifacts from their original place of discovery into the museums of dominant societies.

Each piece was made from digital scans of Grothusen’s body, which he digitally altered and cast using concrete on steel armatures. When deciding on materials for this exhibit, Grothusen felt that cement and steel would work well together, as the cement is able to hold on to the steel and remain stable. Furthermore, Grothusen was intrigued by how artifacts are moved and used the steel to convey that his pieces will be moved as well.

In Grothusen’s statement, he mentions that when beginning a new piece, he asks himself: “What is it like to be in the space with the work and what will the viewer remember later?” When he started this exhibit, he wanted the pieces to be able to physically connect with the site, so a viewer had to be in the space to truly see and understand each piece. Despite having other galleries at his disposal, Grothusen chose to present this exhibit at Dickinson’s Goodyear. Grothusen explains that this was due mainly to the size of the gallery, along with the natural light that floods the gallery. Grothusen also mentioned how he felt welcomed by Dickinson; he cites his gallery opening as the time at which he really felt the strength of Dickinson’s community.

When asked about his favorite piece of the exhibit, Grothusen responded with his piece called “Front” because it feels alive and evolved. Unlike the other pieces, “Front” is hollow and filled with water that leaks out of the layers of concrete which Grothusen likened to blood.

Grothusen’s Art & Artifact exhibit manages to combine influences from Ancient Greek art and modern-day technology to create an intriguing and thought-provoking exhibit. Each piece captures Grothusen’s fascination for archeology and passion for his craft. When viewing the exhibit, the audience will feel as if the pieces are not only art, but also history and culture.