Maya Lin’s Systematic Landscapes in St. Louis

Maya Lin, “Water Line”, 2006, Aluminum tubing and paint. Photo: Colleen Chartier.


This Friday, the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis will open Systematic Landscapes by Season 1 artist Maya Lin. The exhibition, organized by the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington in Seattle (which featured Lin’s Art21 segment in the exhibition), shows new sculptures, drawings and installations from the artist.

Maya Lin is internationally recognized for her Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., which changed the language and form of commemorative sculpture. Yet the diversity of Lin’s work, which ranges freely across the boundaries of art, architecture, and design, establishes her as an artist that resists any categorization.

As she explains in an interview with Art21:

“The mediums I use range widely, from broken glass to water to granite. And I think formalistically, each time out with these large scale works, they can look very different. But there are some very strong underlying ideas that go throughout the works. One of them is time, one of them is an idea about landscape and the earth, or natural states or phenomena.”

Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes is centered around three monumental installations, 2×4 Landscape, Water Line, and Blue Lake Pass, each of which puts the viewer into a distinctive relationship with the scale and shape of the land. Since the pieces are massive, they invite the visitor literally to become a part of her invented and real landscapes walking under, upon, and through them. Lin explains that these pieces are meant to challenge the means by which we perceive landscapes in the twenty-first century, the era of digital photos and satellite maps on the Internet.

The museum also commissioned the first work from Maya Lin in the public space of St. Louis with her new sculptural work Pin River, based upon the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

As part of the public programs associated with the show, “Between Art and Architecture: An Evening with Maya Lin,” a public lecture by the artist presented by the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, will take place on September 6.

Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis will run through December 30, 2007. Read more about the exhibition here. View more images from the Henry’s exhibition here.