Artists, conservationist to unveil Missouri River work

Photo: Maya Lin, 2003. Photograph by Walter Smith, courtesy Maya Lin Studio and Pace Gallery

Maya Lin, best known for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is about to unveil a new work on the Missouri River called Silver Missouri.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum commissioned Lin to create a work of art inspired by the Missouri River.  It will be installed on Nov. 15 and will hang in the Bloch Building. Lin will give a talk in Atkins Auditorium on Friday, Nov 15 in which she will ask the audience to share their memories of the Missouri River.

The artist is an environmentalist and has been focusing on major rivers in her recent works.

“A lot of my work is focused on getting people to think of things in the natural world that might be right under their noses,” Lin said in a press release. “I’ve been working on rivers that are our most precious waterways. I love understanding more about these rivers and the Missouri has an amazing pattern and flow.”

Here’s more from the Nelson-Atkins:

Silver Missouri is part of a series Lin began with her 2009 sculpture, Silver River, of the Colorado River. The series makes a statement about water conservation.

“Look at how much water this country wastes,” said Lin. “Water is a critical discussion point. It’s the lifeblood of our cities. We are wasting our children’s future. We have all the tools to solve this problem and I want people to focus on that.”

Lin chooses a river of importance and searches for as much satellite mapping as she can find; she then studies the river’s intricacies and draws parts of it by hand before creating the sculpture using reclaimed steel.

“I am in love with the hand drawn process,” she said. “I don’t ever want to lose sight of the translation through the human hand. I really want people to look at my art and see the beauty that’s right there and that they may not have noticed before.”

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