Meet Maya Lin

Profile May 26, 2020

Maya Lin examines landscape and the world around us. Born to Chinese immigrants (a ceramicist and a poet) in Athens, Ohio, Lin came to attention when she won the Vietnam Veterans Memorial competition in Washington D.C. as a Yale undergraduate. She has since designed memorials in honor of the civil rights movement, women at Yale, and local history in the Pacific Northwest.

A blue lit gallery featuring a sculptural model on a pedestal; in the background, a yellow lit gallery features a large installation of terrain-like segments of material
Installation view of Blue Lake Pass, 2012, Carnegie Museum of Art.

Her solo exhibition at the Heinz Architectural Center in 2012 featured Blue Lake Pass, which occupied an entire gallery. According to Lin, by “pulling the terrain apart so that one can walk through the landscape, I wanted to shift one’s perspective about the land [with this work]. Allowing a viewpoint that is more geologic in character.”

A sculptural model in the shape of uneven terrain made from pressed cardboard
Maya Lin, Mac Work (Cupertino), 2009, Carnegie Museum of Art

The exhibition also featured Mac World (Cupertino), which exemplifies Lin’s fascination with books and the presentation of data. One of several works Lin has created from product packaging, Mac World (Cupertino) is made from de-assembled Apple Mac boxes. The familiar multi-colored cardboard is cut and layered to playfully mimic the rise and fall of the land close to the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. Mac World (Cupertino) was acquired shortly following the exhibition.