Iowa Trip (Day 2)…

Tuesday, the second day of my trip, we headed down to the recently completed Des Moines Sculpture Garden after getting up late, getting some java and going to lunch at A-Dong.


I’ve been eating at A-Dong for years and really love the 14C on the menu with some jasmine iced tea. Ig thinks it’s funny because I insisted on eating there all 3 days I was in town and I always get 14C. He’s been acting like he is much more adventurous getting all kinds of different items on the menu but let slip this time that he is merely going back and forth between two different items and I’m so absorbed in what I’m eating that I just never noticed. After lunch we headed to the sculpture garden.


Apparently a couple named Pappajohn (no relation to the Louisville pizza mogul), who collected outdoor sculpture for many years gave it to the city and they constructed this sculpture garden that takes up a city block near the downtown. When Ig mentioned checking it out, I had no idea that it would be as large as it is and have as many pieces (there’s 19 artists represented). Here’s the di Suvero that stands in the corner of the park…


Here’s another very large piece and I’m so far out of the sculpture loop now that I didn’t recognize the name when I read it and cannot remember it now.


Next is a beautiful and rather large Deborah Butterfield piece. There are two of her pieces near each other and this is the bigger and the one I liked better. It is cast metal of wooden driftwood-like pieces and painted afterward to look like wood again.


This next bronze is a Willem de Kooning which I didn’t recognize because I only thought of de Kooning as a painter but there it is, a monumental bronze piece…


Next… Sol Lewitt


These last two have something in common with the large head that Ig’s standing inside, which is that I’ve forgotten who did them. They are the two that Sofia likes the best…



There was also a really nice Martin Puryear piece but it wasn’t huge and there was a busload of kids surrounding it. As he’s one of my faves I intended going back to get a shot but forgot by time we had seen everything. After that we went to the large Asian Market and stocked up on some ingredients that I have trouble finding here in Louisville (that doesn’t mean they’re not here, just that I haven’t found them yet). Later Ig cooked a great dinner and we drank vino til pretty late.


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13 Responses to “Iowa Trip (Day 2)…”

  1. ron Says:

    That’s a great giant hare! I like Puryear too. Never seen his work in person though.

  2. kyle Says:

    Love the sculpture park…I never thought of Iowa City as being like this…I always wondered why AKAR was out there…just goes to show my limited thinking…I did get a chance to see a bunch of Mark Di Suervo pieces at Storm King in NY a couple years back…that was awesome…the scale of the pieces and the fantastic “curation” of the landscape was mind blowing.

  3. Miri Says:

    Great photos. I love sculpture parks and am also very jealous of your asian market shopping trip! πŸ˜‰ Is Sofia now going to start making massive sculptural pieces???

  4. Barbara Edwards Says:

    I’m with Sofia. Those Thinker Bunny’s ears are tuned in for sounds from miles around! I have to add the Butterfield horse to my favorites.
    A-Dong has a pretty unassuming exterior – relying on it’s name and 14C for attention?

  5. Amanda Barr Hawkins Says:

    The sculpture park has been a great addition to Des Moines. It’s actually become a rather artsy city- a lot of galleries have opened recently and more people are getting into the art scene. (which is WONDERFUL!) A club just opened up, the Des Moines Social Club, with a gallery, art classes, shows and parties that has done wonders to open up the art scene to the younger generation.

  6. gary Says:

    I dunno, the big black mess looks like something in my cat box πŸ™‚

  7. soubriquet Says:

    I like the thinking hare best of all those.
    The knot of steel joists, i’m completely underwhelmed by. It reminds me a bit of an extremely spiky sculpture in Manchester, (north-western is england), called “The B of the Bang”. The B is a three dimensional frozen representation of an explosion.

    The sculpture took its name from a quotation of British sprinter Linford Christie in which he said that he started his races not merely at the ‘bang’ of the starting pistol, but at ‘The B of the Bang’.

    The B was 184 feet high, but from the start suffered from the problem that the sculptor, Thomas Heatherwick’s imagination was rather better than his structural engineering skills. It was commissioned to mark the Commonwealth Games of 2002, but not completed and erected until 2005… Before it was unveiled, a couple of high-up spikes detached themselves, and scared people. Later, more of it suffered cracked welds. Nobody seemed to have calculated the stresses of wind loadings on it. In 2006, legal action was started, by Manchester City Council, leading to a Β£1.7 million payout.
    It was dismantled, on safety grounds, in 2009.

  8. soubriquet Says:

  9. Becky Jo Says:

    Who would have thought Iowa would be such an entertaining travel desitination… I didn’t. πŸ˜‰

    P.S. I don’t know who made it, but did you see the giant bronze leaf on Grand and 2nd? That’s my favorite. πŸ™‚

  10. meredith Says:

    what a great trip you had.
    Just what a person needs to get some good energy from.
    Makes me think I have new places to go and see.

  11. Michael Mahan Says:

    Cool sculptures, Jim. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    I like the one with all the letters.

  12. Luke Says:

    Jim – fun update on your Iowa trip. I’m an Iowa native, now living in Colorado, and haven’t had a chance to get back to the sculpture garden since it went up, so thanks for the preview. Love your pots, thanks for the post!

  13. Rode Hard And Put Up Wet… « Sofia’s Dad’s Pots Says:

    […] check this out, days after returning from my Iowa adventure where I discovered the new sculpture park, this appeared in the NYTimes with many of the details I […]

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