Connect with us


A judge blocks the demolition of a groundbreaking Iowa art installation



DES Moines, Iowa – A federal judge has temporarily halted plans to dismantle a well-known outdoor piece of art that is situated next to a pond in a city park in Des Moines. The judge determined that the artist from New York, who produced the artwork, has a good chance of winning her lawsuit alleging that removing it would violate her contract with a nearby art center.

After hearing arguments regarding the Des Moines Art Center’s intentions to remove the artwork, titled Greenwood Pond: Double Site, earlier in the day, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Locher issued the temporary restraining order on Monday afternoon. This week, the facility was supposed to start the nearly three-month process of emptying the pond and removing the artwork.

The work, which was finished in 1996, has become irreparably damaged, according to art center officials, posing a risk to park visitors. The artwork presents many viewpoints of Greenwood Pond, such as pathways that let people to see the water and wetlands from above and at eye level, as well as wooden decks that span the pond.

The piece is regarded as one of land artist Mary Miss’s best. Plans to dismantle the installation instead of trying to generate funds for repairs has outraged other artists and arts organizations around the nation.
Miss claims the art center hasn’t kept her updated about the pieces she made and that doing so would go against the terms of the contract, which stipulates that the artwork made of wood, concrete, and metal must be maintained and cannot be taken down without her consent.

“I am pleased and relieved by Judge Locher’s decision not only for what it has done for Greenwood Pond: Double Site, but because it reaffirms the rights of all artists and the integrity of their legacies,” Miss said in a statement. “Let’s use this opportunity to reach an outcome of which we can all be proud.”

The art center’s officials stated that while public safety was their primary concern, they would respect the court’s ordered delay. The art center estimates that it would cost $2.6 million to fix the artwork. Nowadays, a lot of the artwork is enclosed by fencing.

“We respect the court’s decision, and we will be pausing plans to remove the artwork from Greenwood Park,” the art center said in a statement. “The sections declared dangerous and unsalvageable will remain enclosed in protective fencing.

Miss’s plea for a preliminary injunction to continue delaying demolition preparations while the contract issue is being handled by the courts will be heard by the judge at a later date.