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Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation Receives Gift in Memory of Melva Bucksbaum

Miffy in Memory of Melva Bucksbaum

September 13, 2018

Des Moines, IA (Monday, September 10, 2018) — The children of the late Melva Bucksbaum, daughter Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan, and sons Gene Bucksbaum and Glenn Bucksbaum, have gifted Miffy Fountain (2008) by American artist Tom Sachs, to the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation (Public Art Foundation). The gift of Miffy Fountain is in memory of Melva Bucksbaum.

“The generous contribution from the Bucksbaum family reflects the importance of public art in our community,” said M. Jessica Rowe, director of the Public Art Foundation. “The gift allows us to present Toms Sachs’ extraordinary work of art, as well as move us closer to our goal of becoming a world-class destination for public art.”

The artist’s work of art was inspired by Miffy, a small female rabbit from in a series of picture books drawn and written by Dutch artist Dick Bruna. The new site for Miffy Fountain (2008) takes advantage of the very public ground exterior space along Locust Street in downtown Des Moines. Miffy Fountain will be located on the north side of Locust Street between 12th and 10th Streets, near the Des Moines Public Library.

“Our city with diversity of art concepts are symbols of value, pride, and preservation. It identifies a unique area through the eyes of art and community. We are most excited that this public art project nurtures our wider strategies for cultural development,” said Khalid Khan, member of the Public Art Foundation board of directors and co-chair with Dr. Randall Hamilton of the site committee for the project.

“Miffy Fountain will add significantly to the experience of Western Gateway Park, as well as to the Public Library and entire Des Moines area,” said Dr. Hamilton, board of directors, Public Art Foundation.

Miffy Art in Western Gateway Park

Tom Sachs enlarged the petite Miffy to a scale of 10-feet-tall. The artist then uses her tears to create a fountain. The millions of Miffy images are slick, simple and insubstantial, but Sachs made his version in an obviously hand-made way and then cast it in bronze, a very expensive material used throughout history for grand statues. By revealing the work of his own hands and

then using the ageless bronze, he reminds us of the human sensibility that underlies great art and literature.

Miffy Public Art PieceMiffy Fountain is unique because it is made of cast bronze and painted white. Much of the artist’s work is in mixed media and assemblage. The fountain, in the form of Miffy, was created as part of a “Bronze Collection” with her equally cute friend Hello Kitty. The artist has described this series as ‘merchandising icons with an almost Buddhist sense of nothingness.’ With water spilling from Miffy’s eyes, the fountain figure will weep into pools of its own tears. Miffy Fountain was first exhibited in New York City, in the moneyed canyons of corporate America, which faced difficult times in 2008, it may be appreciated as an emblem of shared misery.

The Public Art Foundation supports placing art in public spaces within the community through public and private collaborations. It is dedicated to envisioning, developing, advancing, and promoting public art projects.

About the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, established in 2004, recognizes that art belongs not just in galleries and museums, but in streetscapes, parks, buildings and infrastructures of a thriving community. Dedicated to envisioning, developing, advancing and promoting public art projects, the Public Art Foundation collaborates with local entities and artists to engage, inspire and enrich the lives of residents and visitors to the community. The goal is to increase awareness of our community as a world-class destination for public art. For more information about the Public Art Foundation, visit www.dsmpublicartfoundation.org.

About the Artist

Internationally renowned contemporary visual artist, Tom Sachs (born 1966, New York) studied at the Architectural Association in London and received a BA from Bennington College, Vermont. His sculptures, which often mimic mass-produced objects, make use of humble materials and tools — Scotch tape and plywood, screwdrivers and vice grips — and the finished products have a deliberately scruffy quality, with glue drips, duct-tape traces and the ragged edges of jigsaw-cut wood left visible, emphasizing what Sachs calls the “scars of labor.” His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions in the U.S. and internationally, and is held in major institutional collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo. For more information, visit the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation.