Dennis Adams, Artist, Writes in Support of "Greenwood Pond: Double Site"


On February 16, 2024, Dennis Adams wrote the following letter to the Des Moines Art Center (DMAC) Director Kelly Baum concerning plans to demolish Greenwood Pond: Double Site, a site-specific installation by the internationally acclaimed leader of the land art movement, Mary Miss, commissioned for the Art Center’s permanent collection. The work, which opened in 1996, is in a diminished condition with some sections fenced off, suggesting the DMAC has not fulfilled its contractual obligation to “reasonably protect and maintain” the work. The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is calling for the DMAC to reverse it demolition decision and, instead, to engage in meaningful consultations with the artist and others to find a solution that restores the artwork and develops a long-term, ongoing maintenance plan. 




Dear Kelly Baum,     

I am writing to advocate for the restoration of “Greenwood Pond: Double Site” by Mary Miss. I am an American Artist that has produced numerous site-specific works globally. I am honored to have shared the period of history that I emerged in, with Mary Miss, Hans Haacke, Dan Graham, Siah Armajani, Scott Burton, Vito Acconci, Martin Puryear, Alice Aycock and Lawrence Weiner among others.     

Beyond my link to this now precious generation of artists—several of which have passed away, I was born in Des Moines in 1948, the year the Des Moines Center opened its doors, and was fortunate enough to have been raised near there—with the opportunity to study with Jimmy Ernst, Esteban Vicente and Stephan Greene, in what was then your summer Visiting Artist Program.     

As a boy, I played regularly in Greenwood Park around the pond and ice skated on it in the winter. Several years ago, I returned to Des Moines for a week to touch base with my youth.  There, I had the opportunity to spend a long period of time studying every detail of Mary’s project.  It is without a doubt, a masterpiece of landscape design, with pathways, plantings and details that are inspiring. Mary’s work not only belongs to the legacy of the Des Moines Art Center—it is a major work of art in the history of America.     

I am asking you and the Board of Trusties to reverse your decision and develop a plan for fund raising that will save this important work of landscape architecture for future generations.     


Dennis Adams


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