Maya Lin exhibit at the Parrish
Related mediaMaya Lin exhibit at the Parrish Art Museum
Climate change and human responsibility for its consequences are not up for debate, as far as Maya Lin is concerned. The artistic exploration of issues ranging from rising sea levels to diminishing biodiversity has become her life's work. At age 54, she's declared her ongoing multifaceted project, "What Is Missing?" her final memorial.
Lin, still best known for her first one -- Washington, D.C.'s Vietnam Memorial -- is guest artist in the third iteration of the Parrish Art Museum's "Platform" series opening Friday, Independence Day.
"I've always been concerned about the environment -- more specifically, the huge impact mankind is having on the planet," Lin says of her mammoth "What Is Missing?" endeavor. (See what she's up to at whatismissing.net). "I'll be working on it for the rest of my life."
But she also continues to work on a smaller scale, creating new art in new places, such as the Parrish, now in its second summer at Water Mill.
"We invite artists we like," says Andrea Grover, Parrish curator of special projects, of which "Platform" is a centerpiece of the high-profile summer/fall season. "And they come up with something site-specific to this place."
NEW AND RECYCLED
"The space is fantastic," Lin says of the sunny Parrish lobby gallery where her work is installed. Lin's six-piece exhibit mixes new and existing ecologically themed works created with tools of art and science, including sonar-resonance scans and satellite imaging. The results are displayed on two walls of the gallery, also visible from outside the museum. On the west wall is a new installation of 2013's "Pin River -- Sandy," depicting the floodplain of superstorm Sandy, from Cape May, New Jersey, to Montauk.
On the opposite wall, a triptych created for this exhibit depicts prominent South Fork bodies of water: Accabonac Harbor, Georgica Pond and Mecox Bay, each made of recycled cast silver. "I wanted to focus on those three -- seen as figures -- reversing the way we see waterways," Lin says.
As displayed, the silver shapes appear as reflective islands against a sea of white.
On the floor, between the pins and the triptych, lie concentric circles of marble that reveal the Earth's topography at the Equator, Long Island's latitude and the Arctic Circle. Outside, as you enter the Parrish, you can glimpse linear representations of 76 degrees West Meridian, from the North Pole to the South, through Manhattan, and 106 degrees East Meridian in the Far East.
"I created 'Equator' for this show," Lin says, adding that she plans to complete the globe with Tropic of Capricorn and Antarctic Circle.
Of "Pin River," Lin says, "The nature of pin installations conveys a sense of dispersion, capturing the ambiguous nature of estuaries" -- the subject of another mammoth Lin project.
The pins for "Sandy" take longer to install than the storm to surge. About 17,000 predrilled holes in the wall are filled with stout silver pins, two full working days for a crew of four. "Storm surges, though so powerful in our memories," Lin observes, "are transient in nature."
Rising oceans? That's another story.
WHAT "Platform: Maya Lin"
WHEN | WHERE Friday through Oct. 13, Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill. Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
ADMISSION $10; $8 seniors, students free; 631-283-2118, parrishart.org