Maya Lin’s work to be examined at the National Portrait Gallery in a first-ever biographical exhibition | New

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Maya Lin in her studio working on Eclipsed Time circa 1994. Photo: Adam Stoltman.


Maya Lin has been announced by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery as the next subject in its ongoing “One Life” series, offering followers of the celebrated architect and sculptor the chance to examine his life and work through the lens of a major biographical exhibition for the first time.

The exhibition aims to “highlight the development of the artist’s approaches and processes through a variety of three-dimensional models, sculptures, sketchbooks and photographs”.

Lin’s upbringing in rural Ohio will serve as a bookend to a timeline that culminates in his recent renovation of Smith College’s Neilson Library and the 2021 ghost forest installation in Madison Square Park in Manhattan.




A view of Lin's Ghost Forest 2021 installation in Madison Square Park, New York.  Photo: James C. Ewart, courtesy of Maya Lin Studio.

A view of Lin’s Ghost Forest 2021 installation in Madison Square Park, New York. Photo: James C. Ewart, courtesy of Maya Lin Studio.


Aerial view of Eleven Minute Line in Knislinge, Sweden.  Photo: Anders Norsell, courtesy of Maya Lin Studio.

Aerial view of Eleven Minute Line in Knislinge, Sweden. Photo: Anders Norsell, courtesy of Maya Lin Studio.

“The exhibition will reveal the roots of her interests,” said curator Dorothy Moss. “As a very young child growing up in rural Ohio, Lin developed what she describes as ‘a strong love and respect for the land,’ and that focus on the natural world translated into deep work based on empathy.”


Maya Lin at the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on November 13, 1982. Photo: Harry Naltchayan for The Washington Post, with permission.

Maya Lin at the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on November 13, 1982. Photo: Harry Naltchayan for The Washington Post, with permission.

“She wrote of her practice: ‘Whether social or aesthetic, I seek in these works to create a dialogue with the viewer, to allow a place of contemplation, sometimes an incorporation of history, always a dependency to time, to memory, or a passage or a journey.

The Smithsonian shares that the exhibit also includes a special installation from Lin’s “What is Missing” environmental memorial from 2012.


Lin receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. Photo: Chip Somodevilla, courtesy of Maya Lin Studio.

Lin receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. Photo: Chip Somodevilla, courtesy of Maya Lin Studio.

“One Life: Maya Lin” will be on view to the public from September 30 to April 23 at the museum located on 8th Street in Washington, DC. For more information on participating in the exhibition, click here.








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