Maya Lin

Architect / United States / Maya Lin Studio

Maya Lin has maintained a careful balance in her career between art and architecture, creating a remarkable body of work that includes large-scale site-specific installations, intimate studio artworks, and architectural works.

In her large-scale environmental artworks she has consistently explored how we experience and relate to the landscape. From her recent works—such as Where the Land Meets the Sea (2008, a drawing in space based upon the topology of the San Francisco Bay), Eleven Minute Line (2004, an earthen line 1,600 feet long by 12 feet high, traversing a meadow in Sweden), and Flutter (2005, a 20,000-square-foot sculpted earthwork commissioned for a federal courthouse in Miami)—back to her very first—the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, where she cut open the land and polished its edges to create a history embedded in the earth—she has made works that merge completely with the terrain, blurring the boundaries between two- and three-dimensional space and setting up a systematic ordering of the land that is tied to history, time, and language.

Her studio artwork has been shown in solo museum exhibitions in the U.S, Italy, Denmark, and Sweden. The exhibition “Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes,” which opened at Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery and traveled to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in 2009, was the first to translate the scale and coherence of her outdoor installations to the interior space of a museum.

Lin’s architectural works have been critically acclaimed both nationally and internationally. Her architecture includes the Riggio-Lynch Chapel (2004) and Langston Hughes Library (1999) at Haley Farm (Clinton, TN) for the Children’s Defense Fund; an Environmental Learning Lab at Manhattanville College in Harrison, NY (2006); and a private residence in Colorado that was honored as one of Architectural Record’s Record Houses in 2006. Lin’s architecture creates a dialogue between the landscape and architecture: she is committed to and advocates sustainable design practice in her works, often using sustainable and reclaimed materials, merging materials and design to establish a singular voice.

In 2009, Maya Lin completed the design for the new space for the Museum of Chinese in America in lower Manhattan, as well as Storm King Wavefield, an eleven-acre earthwork reclamation project at Storm King Art Center (NY). Among her current projects is the Confluence Project, a multi-sited installation that spans the Columbia River system in the Pacific Northwest, intertwining the history of Lewis and Clark with the history of the indigenous Native American peoples, but always with a critical eye toward the environmental changes that have rapidly occurred in the region.

A committed environmentalist, Lin is working on what will be her last memorial, What Is Missing?, again reinventing what a monument can be. What is Missing? focuses on the current crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss. It is a multi-sited work existing in select scientific institutions, online as a website, and as a book. It debuted at the California Academy of Sciences in September 2009 with a sound and media sculpture installation on the Academy’s east terrace. On Earth Day 2010 a video installation was presented in conjunction with Creative Time on the MTV HD screen in Manhattan’s Times Square. The video, presented in one of the most artificial environments in the city, showed colorful high-resolution imagery of endangered animals with text that provoked the viewer to take a moment to consider the global extinction crisis.

Maya Lin received her B.A. from Yale University in 1981, a Master of Architecture degree from Yale School of Architecture in 1986, and has maintained a professional studio in New York City since then. Lin is represented by The Pace Gallery in New York. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Natural Resources Defense Council and is a member of the Yale Corporation. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Design Award, an AIA Honor Award, the Finn Juhl Prize, and honorary doctorates from, among other institutions, Yale University, Harvard University, Williams College, and Smith College. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2005 was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She has been profiled in Time magazine, the New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker and her architecture and artworks have consistently elicited praise in magazines ranging from Newsweek to Art in America to Architectural Record. In 1996 a documentary about her work, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. She lives in New York City with her husband, Daniel Wolf, and their two children.

comments powered by Disqus