Maya Lin and Her Systematic Landscapes
When the competition for the design of Vietnam Veterans Memorial was won by a 21 years old undergraduate student, people were surprised. More than that, Maya Lin was of Chinese origin (which was not as common as today): her parents had come to America in 1949, she was born in 1959.
The surprise went much bigger when the people saw the Memorial. The minimalist approach was shocking, as everybody was used with the traditional monuments. Some felt so shocked that another artist (Frederick Hart) was asked to complete the whole with a statuary group.
Since then years passed and people got more and more used with non-traditional ways of art. Today the Vietnam Memorial is a venerated landmark.
What happened with Maya Lin after that? In a way, creating a famous monument when you are 21 turns against you: it is difficult to remain at the same level afterwards, and you become the prisoner of your fame.
Maya Lin became passionate by Land Art, which was fortunate: large surfaces are ideal for generous installations, earth becomes a large sculpture and the artist is free this way to create her or his own Nazca Lines.
An exhibition of Maya Lin is open at the Corcoran. I was tere yesterday and I had in mind to record a video. Unfortunately it was not allowed, so I captured from the web some images.