MAYA LIN: Hi, I’m Maya Lin. I installed the piece “Folding the Chesapeake” in the Renwick Gallery. I have been trying to find a certain type of marble for exactly this for 10 years. I think they’re kind of slightly flawed, and I love them for their flaws. When I was a kid my dad was Dean of Fine Arts, and he invited all these glass blowers, and they used a certain type of glass bead.
This is the marble from my childhood! It’s the color, it’s the size, and I think I just blurted out that I would do this piece about water because a lot of my works are like – they’re almost cartographic in nature. I love making people very aware of what’s literally below their feet or in their backyards, so of course the Chesapeake Bay. As an artist, it’s a beautiful drawing. I think there’s something so magical about waterways and that we don’t tend to look at them as singular wholes, we tend to look at where we know upon that river, but the minute you step back and you almost see these incredible living system as an object, as a singularity, and it begins to take on its own personality and maybe people begin to think of it as this very holistic system, and of course waterways are just that.
Growing up in an artistic environment, Maya Lin sees the materials used in Folding the Chesapeake installed at the Renwick Gallery as a reflection of her childhood.
Artist and architect Maya Lin designs artworks inspired by landscape and ecosystems that are critical to a sustainable environment. Lin talks about her work and her WONDER installation, Folding the Chesapeake, a deluge of glass marbles that flows across the gallery walls and floor to form a map of the Chesapeake Bay. Book signing of Maya Lin: Topologies follows.
Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)
Nine leading contemporary artists—Jennifer Angus, Chakaia Booker, Gabriel Dawe, Tara Donovan, Patrick Dougherty, Janet Echelman, John Grade, Maya Lin, and Leo Villareal—each took over different galleries in the building, creating site-specific installations inspired by the Renwick.