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Architect Maya Lin Reflects on the Art of the Landscape

Architect Maya Lin is best known for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., which she designed as a 21-year-old college student. Jeffrey Brown speaks with Lin about her recent work on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And finally tonight, the latest work by artist and Vietnam Memorial architect Maya Lin. Jeffrey Brown reports.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    It's an imaginary landscape made of some 50,000 fir and hemlock boards, rising to a height of 10 feet, and filling a large room in a museum. It's creator, the artist and architect Maya Lin, says it began with a simple, playful thought.

  • MAYA LIN, Architect:

    The idea started with, "Gee, what would it be like to take a hill, move it inside, and let you walk up to the top of the hill and touch the ceiling?"

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The sculpture, which was built and can be moved in sections, is part of a traveling exhibition called "Systematic Landscapes," now at Washington's Corcoran Gallery, in which Lin begins with her own concerns about the environment and asks viewers to see and experience the natural world in new ways.

    The "Bodies of Water" sculptures are based on actual inland seas, this one the Caspian Sea, presenting them as layered three-dimensional forms, not just the surface we see.

    "Blue Lake Pass," another sculpture based on an actual location, this one in the Colorado Rockies where Lin and her family hike, consists of 20 blocks of vertical sheets of particle board.

  • MAYA LIN:

    You can make it through, but you're a little tight to the Earth in a funny way, so it puts you in a very intimate relationship back to the land around you.

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