Susanneh Bieber, Art Scholar, Writes in Support of "Greenwood Pond: Double Site"


On February 14, 2024, Susanneh Bieber 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 was deeply dismayed to learn that the Des Moines Art Center is planning to demolish the work Greenwood Pond: Double Site, that is currently under its care. I urgently ask you and the Board of the Art Center to reverse course, to continue your conversation with Mary Miss, and find ways to safeguard this significant work for the education and benefit of your local, national, and international audiences.     

Greenwood Pond: Double Site is central to histories of Land art, feminism, and American art, and highly relevant for contemporary efforts to rethink human interactions with the natural and built environments. In my 2023 book American Artists Engage the Built Environment, 1960-1979, I elaborate on the work of Mary Miss and its pivotal role in reframing our understanding of American art since the 1960s.     

The destruction of Greenwood Pond: Double Site would be a profound tragedy and cast an indelible stain on the reputation of the Des Moines Art Center and its leadership. I urge you and the Board to engage in a sincere conversation with Mary Miss, to seek a solution for the preservation and safekeeping of this invaluable work, and thus ensure that the Des Moines Art Center remains true to its mission.       


Susanneh Bieber     

Associate Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art  

Texas A&M University


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