Maya Lin: Mappings

Each of my works originates from a simple desire to make people aware of their surroundings, not just the physical world but also the psychological world we live in. —Maya Lin

This exhibition showcases art by Maya Lin (American, born 1959). The exhibition brings attention to environmental issues like climate change, species extinction and the relationship between humans and the world we inhabit.

Using a variety of materials, including steel pins, marble, and bound atlases, Lin distills complicated scientific and quantitative information into resonant objects. These artworks open a dialogue between the artist and the viewer.

A key component of the exhibition is what Lin has called her “last memorial,” What Is Missing?. This interactive, multi-site artwork bears witness to the cumulative and ongoing devastation of species loss caused by human action. The work reminds us of our collective responsibility to protect the earth.

Interacting with these artworks offers a way to contemplate ideas that can seem too complex or large to absorb. Their presentation here is an opportunity to make sense of our current predicament and imagine a better future.

The exhibition complements the opening of Neilson Library, a major building project on the Smith College campus designed by Lin. It also provides an expanded view of Lin’s engagement with placemaking. 

Black Sea (Bodies of Water series), 2006. Baltic birch plywood. © Maya Lin Studio, courtesy of Pace Gallery. Photograph by Kerry Ryan McFate
28 January to 7 August 2022
Smith College Museum of Art
20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace
01063 Northampton, MA, USA
Smith College Museum of Art