Lin, Maya Ying

Lin, Maya Ying mīˈə [key], 1959–, American architect and sculptor, b. Athens, Ohio. Lin's work is known for its visual poetry and sensitive mingling of highly abstract form with meaning. From an artistically distinguished Chinese family that immigrated to the United States in the 1940s, Lin was catapulted to prominence while a Yale undergraduate when her design for Washington, D.C.'s Vietnam Veterans Memorial (completed 1982), with its magisterial simplicity, won a national competition. She cemented her status as a major figure with her sculptural design for the Civil Rights Memorial, Montgomery, Ala. (1989), and a monument commemorating coeducation at Yale (1991). She also has undertaken other kinds of architectural projects, e.g., several private houses and the Museum of African Art (1993), a huge clock at Pennsylvania Station (1994), the Museum of Chinese in America (2009), all three in New York City. In 2001 she began the Confluence Project, an ecology-based seven-part installation along the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon that commemorates sites where the Lewis and Clark expedition met with Native American groups. Lin has continued her environmental art with several earthwork projects, notably her Wave Field (2008), an 11-acre (4.5-hectare) work consisting of seven grassy, undulating hills at New York's Storm King Art Center. She also designs furniture, and her sculpture has been widely exhibited.

See her Boundaries (2000); Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (documentary film, 1995).

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