Maya Lin’s acclaimed work encompasses large-scale environmental installations, intimate studio artworks, architectural projects and memorials. Her artwork interprets the world through a twenty-first century lens, utilizing technological methods to study and visualize the natural environment. In her sculpture and drawing, Lin merges rational order with notions of beauty. Blurring boundaries between two- and three-dimensional space, Lin sets up a systematic ordering of the landscape tied to history, time, science and language. The 2014 recipient of the Gish Prize for her contributions to art and social change, Lin has been the subject of solo museum exhibitions and created outdoor installations for public and private collections from New York to New Zealand. She is at work on her final memorial, What is Missing?, raising awareness about habitat loss and biodiversity. Born in 1959, Lin holds degrees from Yale and the Yale School of Architecture. She has been represented by Pace since 2008.
Pace, 32 East 57th Street, New York
April 26 – June 22, 2013
Opening: Thursday, April 25, 6 to 8 PM
Pace London, 6-10 Lexington Street, London
March 22 – May 11, 2013
Pace is honored to present Here and There, a two-part exhibition of new work by American artist Maya Lin presented in New York and London this spring. Here and There is on view at Pace, 32 East 57th Street, New York from April 26 through June 22, and at Pace London, 6-10 Lexington Street, from March 22 through May 11.
Lin explores aspects of the natural world through sculpture and drawing, focusing on mapping as a way to translate the enormity of a place to a scale that we can see and understand. The New York presentation of Here and There concentrates on the geography of Manhattan and New York State (Here), while the London exhibition explores natural phenomena within but also beyond London, extending to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Arctic (There).
Employing technological methods to study and visualize topographies and geographic phenomena, Lin creates sculptures that interpret the natural world through a twenty-first century lens. By abstracting natural forms into a single material – marble, wood, silver, or steel – she reveals things that are often hidden below the surface or beyond sight, merging rational order with notions of beauty and the transcendental.
Lin’s Pin Rivers and Silver Rivers – wall works representing aerial views of waterways, in which the image of the river is made of either recycled silver or steel pins, with the wall forming the surrounding land – enable viewers to see rivers both as interconnected wholes and as dynamic, sculptural forms. The use of pins serves to represent the dispersion of the waterways, particularly evident in the evocative form of Pin River Sandy, representing the area flooded by Hurricane Sandy, and Crossing Midtown, which illustrates the path of two creeks that spanned what is now midtown Manhattan at the founding of New Amsterdam in the seventeenth century.
Also featured are two marble sculptures of longitudinal and latitudinal sections that reveal the mountainous terrain both above and below the ocean’s surface. Carved from white Vermont Danby marble, the fourteen-foot-long marble sculpture Longitude NYC represents the cartographic sections of the meridian passing through Manhattan at 74 degrees longitude. The circular sculpture Latitude NYC represents the topography of the latitude spanning the earth and passing through Manhattan between the 40th and 41st parallels north. To create the sculptures, Lin began with drawings, tracing the complex terrain of the ocean floor, followed by computer analysis and scaled models to find the right form before it is made in marble. “It’s a process that balances scientific data with the handmade,” says Lin. “If the end form looks only like the idea of the information, then it fails. It has to become its own form – evocative, beautiful, strange. I start with extremely complex scientific data points and then, through a visual editing process, I find the scale and simplicity of the form – revealing a landscape both visually discernible and compelling.”
The works 52 Ways to See the Ocean and 52 Ways to See the Earth illustrate fifty-two slices of the ocean’s and the earth’s topography, cut longitudinally. Made of Richlite, an environmentally friendly byproduct of wood, the maps function almost as puzzles, illustrating the peaks and valleys of the earth’s land mass and the ocean floor.
The exhibition features a room dedicated to Lin’s last memorial, What is Missing?, a multi-sited artwork that raises awareness about the current crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss. A website (www.whatismissing.net) acts as a nexus for the project, creating an ecological history of the planet and inviting people to share something they have personally witnessed diminish significantly or disappear from the natural world. At Pace in New York, the room will concentrate on the history of the Hudson River and the surrounding area, revealing the former biological abundance of the waterway through details gleaned from historical documents and archives. At Pace London, meanwhile, the room will explore the history of the Thames and of London and its environs. Visitors to the galleries are asked to contribute their own memories of the Hudson and Thames, respectively, adding to the historical account.
Here and There will be accompanied by a catalogue with essays by Robert Storr, dean of the Yale University School of Art, William L. Fox, Director of the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art, and notes by Maya Lin.
Maya Lin (b. 1959, Athens, Ohio) is known for a wide-ranging practice that encompasses large-scale environmental installations, intimate studio artworks, architectural works, and memorials, after she virtually redefined the idea of the monument with her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1981). Lin graduated cum laude from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1981 a Master of Architecture degree in 1986.
She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at museums worldwide, including the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; American Academy in Rome; Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Arts Club of Chicago; and the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, which travelled to the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; De Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. She has created permanent outdoor installations for public and private collections, including the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco (San Francisco Arts Commission for the Civic Art Collection, California); the Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; her acclaimed Wave Field at Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York; and her largest earthwork to date, unveiled in New Zealand this spring. Her work can be found in public collections including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Phoenix Art Museum; and Toledo Museum of Art.
A dedicated environmentalist, Lin has been committed to focusing attention on the natural world throughout her career, and has incorporated sustainable and recycled material into many of her artworks. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Museum of Chinese in America, and is a former member of the boards of both the Yale Corporation and the Energy Foundation.
She is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, and has received honorary doctorates from Yale and Harvard Universities, and Smith College, among others. Lin is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2009 she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama, and in 2011 she received the Mayor’s Award for Arts & Culture from Mayor Bloomberg. Her work was the subject of the Academy Award-winning film Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994). In October 2012, Lin was the second in the Tate’s American Artist Lecture Series, a three-year cycle of talks organized by Tate and the US Art in Embassies program and the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom. On April 9, Maya Lin will present a convocation address at Oberlin College’s Finney Chapel, the first visual artist to be so honored.
Lin has been represented by Pace since 2008. Here and There is her second New York exhibition with the gallery and her first exhibition in London.
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Maya Lin explains the ideas and inspirations behind the works in her current show "Maya Lin: Here and There" on view at Pace Gallery, 32 East 57th Street, and Pace London, 6-10 Lexington Street. Click here to watch Art21's video.