Maya Lin to go on view at Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center February 11–May 13, 2012
Lin will produce a special artwork representing Pittsburgh’s 3 Rivers
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…Architect, artist, and dedicated environmentalist Maya Lin’s groundbreaking works arrive at Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center this February, including a new piece, to be created for the exhibition, commemorating Pittsburgh’s rivers. The Heinz Architectural Center invites consideration of the built and natural world, and promotes consideration of contemporary environmental concerns. Lin’s diverse work achieves a balance between nature, science, and art by observing natural phenomena and imaginatively representing them as physical objects.
The 21 sculptures and drawings in Maya Lin, on view February 11–May 13, 2012, provide surprising glimpses into diverse aspects of water and land. Particle board blocks reflect a pass in the Rocky Mountain range, a cast of trickled silver represents the line of the Colorado River, and a square of recycled green glass with a rippled upper surface is reminiscent of ocean waves. The exhibition, organized in Pittsburgh by Carnegie Museum of Art curator of architecture Raymund Ryan, is an adaptation of the 2010 Maya Lin exhibition at the Arts Club of Chicago, which was hailed by critics as a tour de force.
Maya Lin grew up in Athens, Ohio, and has been inspired since childhood by the topography, nature, and history of the Ohio Valley. Lin has made one new work, Pin River – Ohio (Allegheny & Monongahela), 2012, specifically for the Pittsburgh display, a representation of the confluence of the city’s three rivers. In addition to the works on view in the architectural galleries, What is Missing?, a film from Lin’s multimedia project of the same name, will be screened in the museum’s Scaife Lobby.
“We are delighted to show Maya Lin’s ongoing environmental work in Pittsburgh,” says Ryan. “Over 25 years of highly focused work, Lin has made very beautiful objects and brought attention to key social and political concerns.”
As an architect and artist, Lin is highly conscious of the shape of the Earth’s surface and the sedimentation beneath. The sculpture Blue Lake Pass fills a room, topographically representing a zone in the Rocky Mountains. Lin placed a grid across a map of the site, then digitally plotted each section in three dimensions. She then sculpted these renderings as 20 blocks, each three feet square, their surfaces swelling with the contours of the mountain pass. Each block is pulled apart from the others in a grid, so that gallery visitors can walk through the sculpture. “I wanted to shift one’s perspective about the land, allowing a viewpoint that is more geologic in character,” said Lin about the piece.
Lin examines the physical qualities of water in its various manifestations, solidifying it as sculpture. In Dew Point 18, 18 blown glass rocks or spheroids suggest the unexpected and beautiful forms dewdrops take in nature. Lines of recycled silver trace the path of a small quantity of water as it falls to the floor in Drip, Drip/Drop, and Drip/Drip. For Pin River – Hudson, Lin pierces a wall with thousands of straight pins arranged so that their linear view of the Hudson River is enhanced by their shadows, creating the illusion of water’s movement.
Works in Lin’s Bodies of Water series, fabricated from horizontal layers of Baltic birch plywood, are three-dimensional models of the spaces occupied by water itself. The two examples in the exhibition reveal hidden underwater landscapes beneath the inland Caspian and Red Seas, showing the volume and shape of the spaces created by these environmentally threatened seabeds.
Maya Lin first came to public attention when she won the design competition for the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall in Washington DC in 1981. Over the years, Lin has created memorials to what she considers the major historical or cultural movements of our time: civil rights, women’s rights, Native American survival, and the environment. The film What is Missing?, on view in the museum’s Scaife Lobby, is from her final memorial project commemorating endangered habitats. Lin refers to those aspects of the environment as the “things that are disappearing before our eyes…from the sounds of songbirds to the visibility of stars at night.”
Maya Lin’s impressive creative output reflects years of engagement with landscapes, the environment, architecture, social movements, and natural phenomena. Maya Lin presents a rare opportunity to engage Lin’s work, and to encounter her engagement of Pittsburgh’s iconic landscape.
Artist Lecture and Opening Reception
Friday, February 10, 6 p.m.; exhibition galleries open until 9 p.m.
Carnegie Music Hall; Free
Maya Lin talks about her work, including her recent sculptures on view in the Heinz Architectural Center that reflect her passion for the environment. Co-production with Carnegie Mellon University School of Art
Lunch & Learn: Inside Views
Maya Lin: Beyond the Wall
Thursday, April 19, 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
$24 members/$30 nonmembers
Limited to 25 people; call 412.622.3288 to register.
In this gallery talk and look back at the earliest days of Maya Lin’s art and architecture career, Raymund Ryan, curator at the Heinz Architectural Center, provides insights for experiencing her newest work, which emerges from her passion and commitment to environmental concerns. The conversation continues over a light lunch in the Carnegie Café.
“Bound Together” Book Club
Thursday, April 12, 6:30–7:45 p.m.
Meet in the Museum of Art lobby; Free
Space is limited; call 412.622.3288 to register.
In this collaborative program by Carnegie Museum of Art and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, participants enjoy a casual and thoughtful 15-minute gallery talk in Maya Lin. The talk highlights visual and literary connections, and is followed by book discussion in the galleries with fellow readers and library staff. The book selection is David James Duncan’s The River Why.
Support for this exhibition was provided by the Drue Heinz Trust, which also provides generous support for the operations and other programs of the Heinz Architectural Center. General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Carnegie Museum of Art
Located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, it is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European works from the 16th century to the present. The Heinz Architectural Center, part of Carnegie Museum of Art, is dedicated to enhancing understanding of the physical environment through its exhibitions, collections, and public programs. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, call 412.622.3131 or visit our web site at www.cmoa.org.