Artist and designer Maya Lin interprets the natural world through history, politics, and culture, creating a body of work that balances art and architecture. Lin’s installations, studio artworks, architecture, and memorials, such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, become a part of the land, merging physical and psychological environments and presenting a new way of seeing the world around us. In 2009 she was awarded the National Medal of Arts — the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.
While an undergraduate student at Yale, Lin designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, after winning a public design contest. Named #10 on the American Institute of Architects’ list of America’s Favorite Architecture and visited by more than 4 million annually, the memorial displays the names of the war’s 58,195 fallen soldiers and symbolizes a "wound that is closed and healing."
Lin’s memorials address the critical social and historical issues of our time. The Civil Rights Memorial in Alabama and the Women’s Table at Yale make our history part of the landscape. “What is Missing?” is a cross-platform, global memorial to the planet, located in select scientific institutions, online as a website, and a book, calling attention to the crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss.
Lin’s art asks us to consider how we relate and respond to the environment. She embraces sustainable building design and environmental awareness through her work. Her Confluence Project brought ecological restoration to six states and national parks.
Her architectural works have included institutional and private commissions, from a chapel and library for the Children's Defense Fund to Aveda's headquarters in Manhattan.
Maya Lin serves on the boards of the Bloomberg Foundation, Museum of Chinese in America, and the What is Missing? Foundation. She is an honorary board member of the Natural Resources Defense Council and is the recipient of the Presidential Design Award and honorary doctorates from Yale and Harvard, among others.
A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she has been profiled in TIME, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker. The 1996 documentary about her, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Her book about her work and creative process, Boundaries, is in its fifth printing with Simon & Schuster.
- Maya Lin talks about the natural world in her art and memorials memorials
- Lin discusses her body of work from her Manhattan studio (2013)
- Maya Lin on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Maya Lin talks about MOCA, her art, and cultural identity
- Maya Lin's Makers Profile
- Maya Lin discusses Wave Field with the New York Times (2008)
- What is Missing?