Visual Arts
2:42 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Nelson-Atkins Commissions Work From Artist Maya Lin

Artist Maya Lin's new work for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art will be installed on November 15.
Credit Walter Smith / Courtesy Maya Lin Studio and Pace Gallery

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has commissioned a new work by architect and artist Maya Lin, who's probably best known as the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

Lin’s sculpture, Silver Missouri, inspired by the Missouri River, is crafted from recycled silver, and it’s one in a series of works exploring water conservation. It will be installed in the Bloch Building on November 15. 

Here are some facts about artist Maya Lin and her approach to the Missouri River:

  • Lin is an environmentalist
    Much of her work, according to a release from the Nelson-Atkins, "is focused on getting people to think of things in the natural world that might be right under their noses."
  • She has created sculptures about rivers before
    Lin has created works from the Columbia River system in the Pacific Northwest to the Hudson River in New York. Silver River, an 87-foot long sculpture representing the Colorado River, hangs over a registration desk in resort in Las Vegas. Pin River Yangtze, an installation of 30,000 straight pins representing the topography of the length of the Yangtze River, is in the United States Embassy in Bejing.
  • Satellite mapping helps her understand a river
    "I've been working on rivers that are our most precious waterways," Lin says in a Nelson-Atkins release. "The Missouri has an amazing pattern and flow."
  • She draws first
    Before Lin creates a sculpture representing a river, she draws some of its complexities by hand. "I don't ever want to lose sight of the translation through the human hand," she says.
  • She considers water a conversation starter
    As Lin told Dwell in April: "Water is just something I'm fixated on, always have been."  She also calls it a "critical discussion point."

On November 15, Lin will discuss her work at the museum's Atkins Auditorium and ask audience members to share their stories about the Missouri River.