Maya Lin

Born in 1959 in Athens, Ohio, Maya Lin catapulted into the public eye when, as a senior at Yale University, she submitted the winning design in a national competition for a Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be built in Washington, DC. She was trained as an artist and architect, and her sculptures, parks, monuments, and architectural projects are linked by her ideal of making a place for individuals within the landscape.

Lin, a Chinese-American, came from a cultivated and artistic home: her father was the Dean of Fine Arts at Ohio University, and her mother is a Professor of Literature at Ohio University. Lin remarks: “As the child of immigrants, you have that sense of ‘Where are you? Where’s home?’ And trying to make a home.”

She draws inspiration for her sculpture and architecture from culturally diverse sources, including Japanese gardens, Hopewell Indian earthen mounds, and works by American earthworks artists of the 1960s and 1970s. Her most recognizable work, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, allows the names of those lost in combat to speak for themselves, connecting a tragedy that happened on foreign soil with the soil of America’s capital city, where it stands. Lin lives in New York and Colorado.

Links:
Artist’s website

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Deep Focus

Dematerializing the Memorial: An Interview with Maya Lin

Almost four decades after her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial brought her work to the national stage, Maya Lin is reinventing the memorial again through her environmental activist foundation, What is Missing.

Deep Focus

Climate Change & Data Drawings: An Interview with Maya Lin

Maya Lin discusses hurricanes and climate change in relation to her work in Ebb and Flow, at Pace Gallery in 2017.

Deep Focus

The “Black Gash of Shame”—Revisiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Controversy

Elizabeth Wolfson recounts the early controversy surrounding Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the delicate balance that must be achieved when memorializing war’s heroes and victims.

Interview

Grand Rapids Ice Rink and Park Project

Maya Lin discusses her process of designing a monument for a park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Interview

“Groundswell” and Studio Works

Artist Maya Lin discusses her three-site installation piece, Groundswell (1993).