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Maya Lin explores Art and Environment at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

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Exhibition presents large-scale sculpture, including two new works exploring the Midwest
Maya Lin, Flow, 2009. FSC certified spruce, pine and fir 2 x 4s 2' x 35' x 11' (.61 x 10.668 x 3.353 m) © Maya Lin Studio

Maya Lin, Flow, 2009. FSC certified spruce, pine and fir 2 x 4s 2' x 35' x 11' (.61 x 10.668 x 3.353 m) © Maya Lin Studio /Pace Gallery

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Maya Lin, Silver Niagara, 2012-2013. Recycled silver, 48-1/8" x 75" x 1/2" (122.2 cm x 190.5 cm x 1.3 cm)

Maya Lin, Silver Niagara, 2012-2013. Recycled silver, 48-1/8" x 75" x 1/2" (122.2 cm x 190.5 cm x 1.3 cm) /Kerry Ryan McFate, © Maya Lin Studio courtesy Pace Gallery

Maya Lin, The Deglaciation of the Laurentide, 2018. Paperboard, encaustic, aluminum 55-1/4 × 71 × 1" (140.3 × 180.3 × 2.5 cm)

Maya Lin, The Deglaciation of the Laurentide, 2018. Paperboard, encaustic, aluminum 55-1/4 × 71 × 1" (140.3 × 180.3 × 2.5 cm) /Kris Graves, © Maya Lin Studio, courtesy Pace Gallery

The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) recently announced  Maya Lin: Flow  (May 18 -  Sept  8, 2019), an  exhibition of  recent large-scale sculpture by the renowned artist and designer.  Organized by GRAM in collaboration with Maya Lin Studio, the exhibition includes two new works that focus on bodies of water in the Midwest region and illuminate  Lin’s dramatic exploration of the natural environment. 
"The Grand Rapids Art Museum is thrilled to present the work of acclaimed artist Maya Lin  this summer," commented Director and CEO Dana Friis-Hansen. "Lin's  commitment to environmentalism and the creation of stirring public spaces—including  Ecliptic  in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids—supports the Museum’s initiative of raising awareness about sustainability and connecting people through art, creativity, and design."  

With  Flow, Lin focuses attention on the crucial role of water, both to our  region, and to global survival. Lin has created two new sculptures for the exhibition that focus directly on West Michigan.  Pin River – Grand River Watershed  (2019) is an installation made of steel pins embedded directly into the wall that forms a sparkling fifteen-foot-long outline of the Grand River Watershed.  The Traces Left Behind (From the Great Bear Lake to the Great Lakes) (2019) is a shimmering wall relief cast from recycled silver. In creating the work, Lin charted the span of contemporary bodies of water from the Arctic to the Great Lakes that were formed by the melting of the Laurentide Ice Shelf, which once covered much of the North American continent. 
“A lot of my work has been about mapping the natural world and revealing aspects of the environment that you may not be aware of,” said Lin. “The two new works created for this show follow that interest of mine; one traces the complex watershed of the Grand River, the other takes a very recognizable mapping of the Great Lakes but adds the series of large lakes formed during the last ice age—creating a constellation-like flow of water that drifts along an invisible boundary line where the glaciers carved out these bodies of water when they retreated.” 
Created in recycled silver, steel pins, and common building materials, Lin conceives these sculptures with the use of charting, mapping, and scientific research to determine each work’s ultimate design, layout, and structure.  Through  sculptural shape, scope, and scale, Lin expands our awareness of the Great Lakes, the geological forces that created them, and their connection to other bodies of water. 

“In her dramatic large-scale sculptures, Maya Lin draws attention to the natural world around us and to the forces that shape our environment,” commented GRAM Chief Curator Ron Platt. “With this exhibition, she creates opportunities for all of us to see the natural landscape in new and different ways, prompting us to consider our relationship and responsibilities to the environment.” 
The exhibition also creates connection and dialogue with  Ecliptic, the public park in Rosa Parks Circle created by Lin that marks its 20th anniversary next year. Water—specifically the nearby Grand River—inspired Lin’s conception of Ecliptic. Within the park, Lin featured water in three different forms—liquid, solid, and vapor—through the park’s ice rink and amphitheater, mist fountain, and table of flowing water.  In connection with the exhibition, a selection of interpretive and interactive materials about Ecliptic are on view for visitors interested in engaging more with Lin’s creation of the park. 
Several informative programs and presentations will be presented at GRAM in conjunction with the exhibition: 

Member Exhibition Opening:  
Maya Lin: Flow  
May 17, 2019, 7 - 9 pm 
Free, GRAM members only 
Join GRAM for an exclusive member opening of  Maya Lin: Flow. Members enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar , and live entertainment while mingling with fellow art lovers. 

Artist Talk: (SOLD OUT)
Maya Lin on Art and Environment 
May 17, 2019, 6 pm 
Cook Auditorium 
RSVP required, GRAM members $5, Public $15 
Lin will discuss her current GRAM exhibition  Flow, her activism on issues surrounding the environment, and the crucial role of water, both to our  region, and to global survival. Lin interprets the natural world through science, history, politics, and culture, creating a remarkable and highly acclaimed body of work in art and architecture.  
Lead support for  Maya Lin: Flow  is generously provided by Herman Miller Cares, Frey Foundation, Eenhoorn LLC, and Wege Foundation. 

About the Artist
Maya Lin (b. 1959) is an artist and designer, known internationally for her work encompassing large-scale environmental installations, intimate studio artworks, architectural works, and memorials. From the moment she entered the national spotlight as an undergraduate student with her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, she has gone on to pursue a remarkable interdisciplinary career in the arts, with a continued commitment to the exploration of time, memory, history and language in her work. Lin has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide, with works in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Smithsonian Institution, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, The Nevada Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the California Academy of Sciences. For more information, visit

About the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Connecting people through art, creativity, and design. Established in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the Art Museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED® Gold certified status. Established in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, GRAM has grown to include more than 5,000 works of art, including American and European 19th and 20th-century painting and sculpture and more than 3,000 works on paper. Embracing the city’s legacy as a leading center of design and manufacturing, GRAM has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft.

For GRAM's hours and admission fees, call 616.831.1000 or visit

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