The Grohmann Museum has acquired 54 bridge photographs by David Plowden. The collection was a gift to the museum by the artist following the exhibition Bridges: The Spans of North America (Grohmann Museum, 2013). The photos were initially selected for the exhibition, but Plowden later decided that the Grohmann Museum would be an ideal home for the images in perpetuity, given MSOE’s engineering focus and the images themselves documenting engineering marvels across the North American landscape.
Plowden spent years photographing dozens of bridges as part of a Guggenheim fellowship. Many of these bridges no longer exist, except for in the memory and in these captivating works. In Plowden’s words, “there is no more overt, powerful or rational expression of accomplishment—of man’s ability to build.”
The addition of Plowden’s images to the Grohmann Museum’s permanent collection allows the museum to replicate the entire exhibition in the future or to select a number of them for display at any given time. This gift greatly increases the scope and quality of the collection, and the photos will be enjoyed by students, faculty, staff and museum patrons for years to come.
The Grohmann Museum is home to the Man at Work collection, which comprises more than 1,000 paintings and sculptures dating from 1580 to the present. They reflect a variety of artistic styles and subjects that document the evolution of organized work: from farming and mining to trades such as glassblowing and seaweed gathering. The Grohmann Museum welcomes visitors to three floors of galleries where a core collection is displayed as well as themed exhibitions. The museum is owned by MSOE, an independent university with about 2,600 students. MSOE offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the engineering, business, mathematics and nursing fields.