She turns apartments into puzzles and is the only person in the world who actually wants water dripping down the inside of her walls.
Architect Maya Lin ’81 ARC ’86 presented “The Continuity of the Art Idea” as part of the DeVane Lecture Series Monday night. Lin, who is best known for her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., used her hour to talk about her love of landscape and nature and her career as both an artist and architect.
“I prefer creating environments rather than objects,” Lin said.
The Yale University Art Gallery’s McNeill Lecture Hall filled up long before the lecture began, and students and guests overflowed into a Linsly-Chittenden Hall classroom where they watched the presentation on a small television.
Lin’s works include the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala., the Peace Chapel at Juniata College in Pennsylvania, the Center for African Art in New York, the Women’s Table at Yale, and the Park Presidio in San Francisco.
While Lin said that she believed the Women’s Table was and will be the last memorial of her career, she said she may make an exception for a massive project on which she is currently working with scientists.
Her idea of a monument to the extinction of species would exist in multiple places at once. Potential sites would include Yellowstone National Park Antarctica, Tibet, Africa, the Amazon, the ocean floor.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lin’s first and most famous work, is often referred to in Yale tours. The design for the memorial was initially submitted as part of an architecture class she took as an undergraduate, and it went on to beat out thousands of entries in a national competition.
Danielle Morris ’02 said she thought Lin’s lecture was extremely thorough. She said she did not mind that Lin chose not to discuss the Women’s Table or the Vietnam War memorial.
“She chose to present what she did for a reason,” Morris said.
Morris said she found the puzzle-like apartment Lin designed for a client a fascinating example of her view of space as shifting, even in buildings.
“It might be kind of cold living in a place where everything can disappear,” Morris said.
Laura Oh ’03 said she did not know Lin’s career involved as much art and sculpture as architecture or that she put a high emphasis on the environment.
Oh, who read Lin’s book “Boundaries,” said she assumed much of Lin’s work revolved around fountains. The lecture, however, changed Oh’s mind.
“You wouldn’t understand [the potential of her pieces] from the snapshots,” Oh said in reference to the pictures in Lin’s book.