Maya Lin, the renowned designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., has been commissioned to create an installation on the grounds adjacent to the new Lewis Center for the Arts. In addition to providing an impressive setting for outdoor classes and performances, Lin’s work will serve as a landmark for visitors, students, and community members.
While still an undergraduate at Yale University, Lin submitted a design to a national competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and out of 1,441 other entries, hers was chosen. The memorial was completed in 1982 and depicts the name of every casualty from the war inscribed on a black stone wall.
Students expressed approval for the choice of designer.
"When I first visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a fifth grader, I thought it was beautiful and sobering," said Julia Cury '19. "Now, as an Art History major," she continued, "I have a better sense of the artistry Maya Lin put into the memorial. With that it mind it's very exciting that Lin has been commissioned for the new LCA installation."
Helena Klevorn '19 expressed excitement for the growth of the University public art collection, as she feels the works inside the University Art Museum are sometimes forgotten by students. She added that Lin's piece would be significant, as having work "by an artist who is both a woman and a minority is exciting in terms of diversifying the artists represented here."
Erin Firestone, manager of marketing and media relations for the University Art Museum, was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Since developing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lin has developed an influential body of work in sculpture and land art, completing designs for studio artworks, buildings, and landscapes. Other historical memorials that she's worked on include the Women’s Table, an installation celebrating the role of women at Yale University, and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala., which commemorates 41 people who died in the fight for racial equality during the American Civil Rights Movement.
Many of Lin’s works are environmentally themed, as Lin uses her urban designs to promote the protection of nature. She is an environmental activist and is concerned with issues such as global warming, polluted bodies of water, and animal endangerment.
Lin was awarded a B.A. in 1981 and a Master of Architecture in 1986, both from Yale. She currently owns and operates the New York City-based professional studio Maya Lin Studio. Lin serves on the boards of the What Is Missing? Foundation, which commemorates biodiversity lost to environmental damage; the Bloomberg Foundation; and the Museum of Chinese in America. In 2016, Lin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
On October 5-8, the University will celebrate the opening of the new Lewis Center for the Arts complex with a Festival of the Arts designed to celebrate the breadth and importance of the arts on campus. The festival is open to the public and will include concerts, plays, readings, dance performances, art exhibitions, screenings, multidisciplinary presentations, and community workshops.
The University will announce additional details about the commission later this month.