An Iowa court has issued a restraining order that will temporarily halt the demolition of an iconic Land art installation by Mary Miss that has fallen into disrepair.

In a legal document filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Iowa’s Central Division, a judge granted the temporary restraining order to Miss, who sued the Des Moines Art Center (DMAC) last week to stop it from dissembling Greenwood Pond: Double Site (1996). The museum had initially planned to carry out demolition of the piece, which is sited on the institution’s grounds, this week.

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Miss, 79, said the museum needed to honor a 1994 contract promising not to alter the work without her permission. She accused the art center of violating the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) through the “destruction of a work of recognized stature.”

In the latest filing, Iowa judge Stephen H. Locher said Miss had established “a sufficient threat of irreparable harm” to Greenwood Pond: Double Site, which was initially conceived as a way to to revamp the wetland ecosystem of Greenwood Park. Comprised of a series of walkable wooden parts, the work runs along a lagoon located behind the museum’s main building.

In January, when the arts advocacy group the Cultural Landscape Foundation revealed the art center’s plans to demolish Greenwood Pond, it brought up questions over how museums contend with preservation needs as their boards and directors change their missions.

Throughout the 1990s, the DMAC commissioned artists like Miss, Richard Serra, and Bruce Nauman for outdoor artworks. Despite repairs in 2014 that extended the Miss work’s lifespan, Greenwood Pond was deemed irreparable, prompting the museum board’s decision to tear it down in October. The board cited a “recurring pattern of structural, operational, and material problems dating back to 1996” that rendered the artwork vulnerable to decay and harsh weather.

In the latest decision, Locher stated in the document that the Miss installation “faces a threat of irreparable harm because once the artwork is removed, it can never be restored.” A hearing to decide whether the suit will move forward is set for later this month.

In the document, Locher also asserted that because the museum doesn’t need approval from the city to restore or remove the artwork, it may still be bound to their agreement with Miss, even if the work is damaged.

In a statement, Miss said the decision “reaffirms the rights of all artists and the integrity of their legacies.”

In February, DMAC director Kelly Baum told ARTnews that it would cost around $8 million to repair the work and to undertake continued maintenance. To raise those funds, she said, the museum would need to establish an endowment for its indefinite maintenance and open three new full-time staff positions.

In a statement responding to the decision, a representative for the DMAC maintained that the dispute is a matter of concern for public safety. The museum has paused removal plans for the artwork, opting to keep degraded parts closed off to the public, stating, “We are compelled to take action as required per our 1990 agreement with the City of Des Moines to correct what has become a hazardous environment.”