book review, Something To Do

Maya Lin: Thinking with Her Hands

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**Thanks to Chronicle for a review copy of this fine book.**

Discovering the book Maya Lin: Thinking with Her Hands

I cannot believe that it has been 35 years since the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated.

Maya Lin: Thinking with Her Hands by Susan Goldman Rubin is simply a book filled with artistic soul and authenticity. Another word that comes to mind is “organic.” Using elements to tell Maya Lin’s story, this very accessible and contemplative biography, like the artist herself, leaves us wanting to see the world and landscape through a new lens.

Maya Lin

We learn that Maya Lin design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a student. It was an assignment but she decided to enter her idea and she won. She was more surprised than anyone. After graduating college we learn what a struggle it was her vision of the memorial to be created. But after 3 years of controversy and delays, her vision of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was finally brought to life.

Four million people annually visit this Memorial.

Since then she has gone on to create a large body of work. This biography focus’ on her large installations and creations and how she incorporates the history of a place, the knowledge of a place into the design. All of her designs leave us with an experience and something to think about.

Susan Goldman Rubin’s biography does the very same thing. This very carefully researched texts intertwines American history, civic activism, art history, and cultural diversity. Beautiful photographs and an artistic layout make this book a full package deal. It will remain on my bookshelves where I can enjoy it always.

Through Maya Lin’s architecture and design we celebrate our American History. We ask ourselves important questions of How do I belong to this history and how do I contribute?

Her final project she imagines will take the rest of her life. It’s the “What is Missing?” project.

I want to wake people up to species loss and habitat loss. And suggest things we can all do to help. How can we protect and restore nature? Art can get people to pay closer attention.

In 2009, President Barack Obama presented Maya with the 2009 National Medal of Arts during a ceremony February 25, 2010 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.  In 2016, the White House also selected Maya as one of the 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, along with Ellen DeGeneres, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Eduardo Padrón.

Maya Lin

I have to share that though this book is a biography, it reads like a piece of art. It has to grace your bookshelves or coffee table. It is an true inspiration.

Maya Lin: Thinking with Her Hands |Something To Do

Visit Maya Lin’s Studio

This interactive website will give you an inside look into Maya Lin’s work and what she currently has going. Be sure to scroll over the time line for some fun sounds and photos.

Watch this Short Video on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Create A Sculpture

Create a miniature model of an expressive sculpture to symbolize your vision of a world event.

Here are some ideas.

Maya Lin sculpture activities

Makers Videos

Makers have made wonderful videos about Maya Lin, many of which have Maya Lin speaking on them about her process and what inspires her. Just love these videos.

“In your generation, you should do whatever you feel like doing…” (wise words from Maya’s mother!)

What do YOU feel like doing to make this world a better place?

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