Art is always up for interpretation. But, how does one interpret the provocative Big Catch Plaza statue in Des Moines? This is one strange roadside attraction in Seattle Southside. Let's dive right in (pun intended) and see if we can get to the bottom of this fishy situation...
Big Catch: Fish With Woman's Breasts
Richard Beyer died in 2012, so there's no way now to ask him what he was thinking when he sculpted "Big Catch" in 1994: a bronze statue of a scruffy older man with boots grabbing the human breasts of a very large fish. One thing is certain: the backstory isn't what's written on the bronze plaque that accompanies the statue.
The plaque outlines a fairy tale of a beautiful maiden turned into a fish who is saved by the kiss of her fisherman boyfriend. Beyer later admitted that this story was completely made up, by him, after-the-fact, simply to soothe the scandalized people of Des Moines. Luckily for them, the breast-groping isn't visible from a distance, where it looks like the goofy man is just dancing with the big fish....
Beyer was a popular Washington sculptor who created public artworks such as Kitt Coyote, Waiting For the Interurban, and Tourists with Sea Gulls on Heads. All of them are beloved, but not Big Catch. In fact, we wonder if this controversial artwork may have spurred the creation of a counterpoint sculpture in nearby Tacoma, which we titled, Proper Role of Man and Fish.
- 21815 Marine View Drive, Des Moines, WA
- I-5 exit 149A. Drive west on 516 to 509, then north. On the west side of Hwy 509/Marine View Drive, just south of S. 218th St. Park in the supermarket lot.
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour