Pool Complex: Orchard Valley, 1983–85
Wolmanized® pine, stone, galvanized steel, concrete
One acre
Laumeier Sculpture Park Commission, with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and additional support from anonymous donors

In Pool Complex: Orchard Valley, Mary Miss includes existing historical artifacts in her contemporary site-specific sculpture. Once the site of the Hedenkamp family’s Orchard Valley Estate, she converted the abandoned 1929 pool into a newly built and landscaped environment, bringing the past into a new social context. Miss highlights the ruins of the estate while we explore her pavilions, platforms and staircases surrounding the pool. With the renewal of this dormant structure, and the purposefully evident aging of her own site work, the artist brings attention to the context of history and the continuum of time.

Sculpture Interaction Guideline: Walk Through


Mary Miss was born in New York in 1944. She received her B.A. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1966 and her M.F.A. at Maryland Art Institute in 1968. Miss' early landscape works dealt primarily with the measurement of distances in relation to a specific location in a temporal work. Later works draw on the architecture, landscape design, gardens and history of worldwide cultures. She has collaborated closely with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists and public administrators on a diverse array of projects. A recipient of multiple awards, Miss has been the subject of exhibitions at the Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge; the Brown University Gallery, Providence, Rhode Island; the Institute of Contemporary Art, London; the Architectural Association, London; Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design; and the Des Moines Art Center.