Maya Lin to Create Public Artwork for the Obama Presidential Center – ARTnews.com

Maya Lin, whose elegant blend of art, architecture, and landscape is world-renowned, was tapped to create an installation for the Obama Presidential Center campus. The work will be set in the Water Garden, named after former President Barack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham.

titled Seeing through the universeAccording to the center’s website, the statue “will contain an upright ‘oculus’ that will be sprayed with mist and a flat ‘pebble’ piece that will be filled with water and then poured over it.” The Obama Foundation project, the center began in September 2021 and is expected to open to the public in 2025.

“When we thought about what might be an appropriate way to commemorate the impact my mother had on my sister and I, I thought about where you want to be in this space,” Barack Obama said in a statement. “I could have pictured her sitting on one of the benches on a nice summer afternoon, smiling and watching a group of kids run through the fountain, and I thought that would capture who she was as well as anything else.”

Lin is among the most sought-after architects in the United States, with commissions including the Nelson Library at Smith College, the Museum of the Chinese in America in Manhattan, and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1981, Lin, then a little-known 21-year-old architecture student, won the design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which remains one of the most visited public works of art in Washington, D.C.

Lin is known for its urban memorials, but her practice also extends to major organic installations, such as the haunting 2021 ghost forest – 49 Atlantic white cedars, from a dying orchard in Pine Barrens, New Jersey, planted in Madison Square Park. It was a shock amid the true evergreens of the lawn, a harbinger of a looming climatic apocalypse. After the facility closed, the trees were harvested by a lumber shop in the Bronx, where the teens shaped them into boats.

About 20 years ago, Lane was commissioned to create six public “earthworks” along the Columbia River system by the Confluence Project, a Pacific Northwest nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about the historical importance of the area’s waterways to local Indigenous communities. In 2008, working with architect John Paul Jones, she completed the Vancouver Land Bridge, a green pedestrian bridge rising over Interstate 14.

Lin wrote: “My goal at times was to disappear, not to add artwork, but my art was to erase past damage and reconnect with the environment, allowing the visitor a deep and intimate connection to the land itself.” from the project.

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