Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

A First On the DC Mall

A First On the DC Mall

More From Maya

In this video

Tagged as

Lin on how she was treated as a very young, female architect.

Maya 's Biography

Artistic Crush: Robert Smithson after seeing his Site/Non-Site at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
First Job: Working in the sewing department of a five and dime shop called Murphy's Mart.
An Apple Not Far from the Tree: The daughter of a Dean of Fine Arts and Literature Professor, Lin was a "bookish" child, casting bronzes by age 16.
Environmentalist Roots: She traces her environmentalism to growing up during the fight for the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and to constantly roaming the woods that surrounded her Athens, Ohio home.

In nearly three decades of practice, Maya Lin has completed large site-specific art installations, intimate studio works, residential and institutional architecture, and, of course, memorials. It’s a varied oeuvre that draws equally on her training as an artist and as an architect. Lin was a Yale undergraduate when she won the blind competition for design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Washington DC’s National Mall. At 21, she became the youngest architect and first woman, to design a memorial on the National Mall. It was a design that flew in the face of all conventions –  a black granite wall, to be set in the earth as a gash, inscribed the names of all those lost. The selection sparked bitter opposition from veterans' groups, but once constructed, the objections faded. It was a new kind of tribute, born of a new sensibility, and is now seen as a benchmark in memorial architecture.
 
Lin’s subsequent work has grappled with identity, spirit and the natural world. In 2009 she installed Storm King Wavefield, a permanent site-specific outdoor work for the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY. A committed environmentalist, she is at work on her last memorial, What is Missing? a multi-sited artwork that raises awareness about the current crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss.

Related Videos

Marlo Thomas
Marlo Thomas
First Single Working Woman on Television

Marlo Thomas is an award-winning actress, author and activist whose body of work continues to have an impact on American entertainment and culture. She burst onto the scene as the...

Joan Ganz Cooney
Joan Ganz Cooney
Co-Founder, Sesame Workshop

A founder of the Sesame Workshop and co-creator of Sesame Street, Joan Ganz Cooney knew that educational television was her calling the moment she walked into Channel 13. Born and ...

Rebecca Morris
Rebecca Morris
Abstract Painter

Rebecca Morris is known for revitalizing abstract painting through her acclaimed artwork. Among her many accomplishments, Morris is the recipient of the 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship,...

Nikki Henderson
Nikki Henderson
Local Food Activist

Through mentoring, tutoring and directing Foster Youth Empowerment workshops, Nikki Henderson developed her passion for youth leadership among communities of color. Combining this ...